THE "TIGER" Shivnarine Chanderpaul has replaced "Prince" Brian Lara as the new batting king of Kensington Oval.
Chanderpaul fashioned a career 25th Test century to not only surpass Lara (1,339) as the batsman with the most Test runs (1,374) at "The Mecca" but also help the West Indies to boldly declare at 449 for nine in their first innings, just after 4:30 p.m..
And by the close of play on the second day of the first Digicel Test, Australia had safely navigated a tricky 45-minute period, reaching 44 without loss off ten overs with David Warner 27 not out and Ed Cowans on 13.
Patience and perseverance once again paid off for the 37-year-old Chanderpaul, who was undefeated on 103, his fifth Test century against Australia–all in the Caribbean--in another typically crafty and conscientious batting display which spanned six hours and 248 balls and contained nine fours and a six.
He overtook Sir Vivian Richards (24) to be behind only Lara (34) and Sir Garfield Sobers (26) in the all-time list of West Indian Test century-makers, while moving his overall aggregate to 9,812 runs in 138 matches.
Resuming from just ten on the first day with the West Indies on 179 for three, Chanderpaul got admirable support from his teammates as, for the first time in the West Indies' Test history, all 11 batsmen got into double-digits.
His overnight partner Darren Bravo made 51 in a fourth wicket stand of 73 and while both Narsingh Deonarine (21) and wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh (22) contributed useful runs, it was his captain Darren Sammy who upped the ante, hitting four fours and three sixes in an entertaining 41-run cameo off 36 balls as he dominated a 53-run seventh-wicket stand with Chanderpaul.
After an early start, Chanderpaul and Bravo carried their fourth wicket partnership to 73 with Bravo quickly into his stride, greeting Ryan Harris with square and cover driven boundaries after Australia took the second new ball at 200 for three off 80 overs.
Chanderpaul also cover drove Harris and sliced Peter Siddle past the gully for fours but shortly after posting his seventh Test 50 to go with three centuries, with a streaky edge through the slips off Siddle, Bravo pushed too hard at a delivery from Shane Watson and edged to Mike Hussey in the gully.
His knock included seven fours and a six off 123 balls in 171 minutes.
Chanderpaul was joined by his Guyanese compatriot Deonarine and duly reached his 50, which contained seven fours in 157 minutes off 108 balls with a single behind square leg.
He celebrated in style by hoisting the uncomplicated off-spin of Nathan Lyons over long-on for six but he lost Deonarine, who got a leading edge to a lifting delivery around his rib-cage and lobbed up an easy catch for the untidy Matt Wade, who conceded 12 byes in his maiden Test outing behind the stumps.
Baugh benefited from Aussie captain Michael Clarke's failure to employ a third slip when he got off the mark with an edge at catchable height and was also dropped off the next ball as Ricky Ponting, at second slip, failed to grab a difficult, diving left-handed effort.
Lunch was taken six minutes early at 291 for five because of a light shower and, on resumption, Baugh, after gathering a few fours, was run out by a direct hit at the bowler's end by Harris after Chanderpaul had turned a delivery to forward square.
Sammy entered the fray and it was evident he was still in the Twenty20 mode. The tall right-hander wasted no time in knocking Lyons out of the attack with three fours in one over. Watson exacted a measure of revenge for Lyons when Sammy ducked into a bouncer and was struck on the helmet.
But the lion-hearted St Lucian, after changing his helmet, nonchalantly hoisted the next ball from the same bowler for a straight six onto the sightscreen while posing on the shot for the cameras.
While the blow seemed to have a dizzying effect on Sammy, he regained his composure to powerfully drive Watson for four through long off and savagely pull him for a six over midwicket, the ball landing in the Greenidge and Haynes Stand.
Sammy also heaved Ben Hilfenhaus for a six over wide long-on but perished when he miscued a hook off the same bowler and was easily caught inside the mid-wicket boundary by Cowans.
Kemar Roach added a further 35 runs with Chanderpaul on either side of tea (390-7) while making 16 before he gave Lyons his first wicket, edging to slip for Clarke to take a one-handed catch.
Chanderpaul was 86 when Fidel Edwards joined him but Clarke, rather than bring on one of his pacers, opted to go with the part-time leg-spin of Warner.
Warner did induce Edwards to sky a pull off a short ball to wide mid-on after Chanderpaul had moved into the 90s but he found an excellent last man in compatriot Devendra Bishoo, who frustrated the Aussies for 56 minutes, finishing on 18 not out in an unbroken last-wicket stand of 28 runs.
Chanderpaul duly reached his century in 357 minutes off 235 balls by pulling Hilfenhaus through square leg for his ninth four, to add to the solitary six.
Afterwards, he and Bishoo took the score one short of the 450-mark when Sammy declared, the first West Indies captain to do so against the Aussies in a Test since 1991.