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Chanderpaul hopes landmark will spark victory

 Shivnarine Chanderpaul established a few more personal landmarks when he became the sixth highest all-time run scorer in Tests yesterday, but hoped his 29th Test hundred helps West Indies to earn a series-levelling victory against New Zealand.

The veteran left-handed batsman was undefeated on 122, drawing level with the late Australian batting legend Don Bradman on the list of Test century-makers.

Chanderpaul added valuable runs with tail-enders Veerasammy Permaul and Tino Best to help West Indies post a first innings total of 367 on the second day of the third Test against New Zealand at Seddon Park yesterday.

It was Chanderpaul’s 17th unbeaten Test hundred and placed him ahead of recently-retired Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar with the most “not-out” Test hundreds.

Chanderpaul now has 11,199 runs from his 153 Tests, placing him ahead of former Australia captain and fellow left-hander Allan Border, who scored 11,174 runs from 156 Tests before he retired in March 1994, the same month the 39-year-old Chanderpaul made his debut.

 “AB is a great man and scored a lot of runs against us when we had a lot of fast bowlers,” said Chanderpaul. “I’m happy to get up there. They are some really great guys up there.

 “I’m just trying to take each game as it comes and do as well as I can. . .I have to thank God for giving me that hunger to want to go out there and do well.”

The previous day, Chanderpaul and Windies wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin, with his fourth Test hundred of 107, shared a new West Indies sixth-wicket record of 200 against New Zealand.

Chanderpaul said it was a satisfying to see the team’s plans finally fall into place.

 “It was a fantastic effort from Denesh Ramdin and myself to get us to such a competitive total,” said Chanderpaul. “From having a good start, then the second session losing so many wickets, we managed to put us in a decent position.

“It’s the things we have talked about all season. Here and in India, we’ve been struggling, getting starts, but not going on. We’ve talked about batsmen getting hundreds and it was something we were able to do in this game so we are very happy about it.

“The New Zealanders have bowled pretty well, in good areas, which they have been doing throughout the series. They make things difficult, it wasn’t easy to score. They have done it throughout the series and keep on doing it.”

The fifth highest scorer in Test cricket is former teammate and fellow left-handed batting legend Brian Lara on 11,953, while Tendulkar heads the list with 15,921 from 200 matches.

The other players in front of Chanderpaul are Australia’s Ricky Ponting (13,378), India’s Rahul Dravid (13,288) and South African Jacques Kallis (13,140).

But Chanderpaul has no plans to chase any records; rather he wants to take things in stride and focus on West Indies winning the third Test against the Black Caps to earn a series draw.

The Windies trail 0-1 in the three-Test series, following a defeat by an innings and 73 runs in the second Test, which ended last Friday at the Basin Reserve in the New Zealand capital of Wellington. 

Rain forced a draw in the first Test, which ended two Saturdays ago at University Oval in the South Island city of Dunedin.

“The wicket is going to spin,” said Chanderpaul. “It has a lot of grass on top of it and the ball will grip. It will be interesting to see what happens.

“You could say we were a bit surprised by the nature of this pitch, that it offered so much turn...if we bowl well enough anything can happen out there [today].”

He also expects off-spinner Sunil Narine to play a big part: “Sunil is a very good bowler. It doesn’t matter the conditions he’s playing in. He’s difficult to deal with when he gets it right. If he comes and gets it right [today], he will be difficult to deal with.”

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