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Vice-captain happy after ton

 Denesh Ramdin said the West Indies dressing room was a lot more relaxed following his fourth Test hundred and a double-hundred partnership with veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul on the first day of the third Test against New Zealand at Seddon Park, Hamilton yesterday.

The Windies vice-captain made 107 while Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 94, closing in on his 29th Test century, as they pulled West Indies out of the depths of another depressing batting slump to reach 289 for six in their first innings at the close.

The pair carried out a salvage operation, sharing an even 200, after the West Indies top-order crashed against disciplined New Zealand bowling and were wobbling on 86 for five in the first hour after lunch.

“We under some pressure, first day of the Test match, but we just needed a partnership,” said Ramdin.

“The legend, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, guided me through that period. I had a couple of chances, but he kept telling me to tighten up, keep batting and we will build small partnerships. I enjoyed batting with him and I learnt a lot, so it was an even day.”

Ramdin was 57 when he essayed a slog/sweep at leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and Kane Williamson at mid-wicket failed to hold a shoulder high chance.

He was also dropped on 94, when he tried to collect his third straight four off left-arm fast-medium bowler Trent Boult’s 16th over and Tim Southee failed to hold onto the ball.

Undeterred and guided by Chanderpaul, the West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman brought up a century when he slashed a delivery from Boult over backward point for his 18th boundary, celebrating with a leap and a wave of the bat.

“I think this is probably one of my best innings,” said Ramdin. “I just played my natural game. There were periods when I thought I was not scoring and I knuckled down and soaked up the pressure.

“The New Zealand bowlers continued to bowl good areas, but I think we adjusted. We came into practice and used the bowling machines, which was quite efficient for us, and we tried to play the ball a lot straighter in this match. We had a plan and we worked with it.”

Ramdin said the hundred was an early wedding gift for Ramnaresh Sarwan. The out-of-favour West Indies batsman is due to be married this week.

But the 28-year-old Ramdin also felt duty bound to deliver following the loss of compatriot Darren Bravo to a bruised left-arm from a blow while batting in the nets on the eve of the Test on Wednesday.

On his emotions when he went into bat, Ramdin said: “Cricket is a very funny game. When we reached 70 for one at lunch, I was looking for our batsmen to get runs and I wouldn’t have to bat, if at all, until after tea.

“Great players are the ones that go out there and consistently perform for the team. At the back of mind, I had set my goal that if I got the opportunity to bat, I would try to bat for the rest of the day. I am bit disappointed that it did not quite work out that way.”

On the state of the pitch, Ramdin said: “The pitch is a bit slow, loopy bounce. It should get better as the match wears on, and probably by the third or fourth day it may offer the spinners a great deal of turn, which should suit us.”

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