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‘Tiger’ eyeing record Test century


MIKE KING

‘Tiger’ eyeing record Test century

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SHIVNARINE?Chanderpaul is seeking to become the oldest West Indian to score a test hundred.
 Chanderpaul, who celebrated his 40th birthday last Saturday, keeps on churning out the runs and his appetite is incredible given the collapses he often has to watch unfold in the West Indies team.
 If he scores a hundred off Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in South Africa in December or January at either Centurion, Port Elizabeth, or Cape Town, he will be the oldest West Indian in history to score a Test ton, taking him past fellow left-hander and Guyanese Clive Lloyd, who was 40 years and 84 days, when he scored the last of his 19 hundreds – 114 off Geoff Lawson, Terry Alderman and Rodney Hogg – at the Gabba in Brisbane in November 1984.
Chanderpaul made his Test debut in March 1994, which means his Test career is 20 years old. The fact that West Indies play fewer Tests than other top teams means he has had to play longer to reach the landmark.
Ricky Ponting played 168 Tests in a 17-year career, Allan Border played 156 in 16, while Rahul Dravid notched up 164 in 16. Chanderpaul is 40 but quite remarkably has been batting better than ever in the last few years, with his last ton coming in December off New Zealand in Hamilton.
He will be seeking to add to his 29 hundreds next month when lightweight Bangladesh play matches at Arnos Vale in St Vincent and the Beausejour Stadium, in Gros Islet, St Lucia.
A veteran of 156 Tests with an average of 51, Shiv has been most dominant at number five and six. At number five, he has 18 tons and averages 57, while at six he averages 64.82 with seven hundreds. Only the  incomparable Sir Garfield Sobers with eight, has more hundreds at number six.
In his first 14 innings in Test cricket, Chanderpaul had eight scores of 50 or more, but the highest among them was 82. By the time he scored his first Test century – 137 not out against India, an opponent he’s had plenty of success against throughout his career – he had already racked up 13 fifties from 29 innings.
That first Test ton by Chanderpaul was made batting at number three at Kensington Oval in 1997. It is his only hundred batting at that position.
The second hundred came reasonably quickly, but only two centuries in 49 Tests was rather poor returns for a specialist batsman, and the period between 1998 and 2001 was quite a struggle, as he averaged 31.43 from 25 matches.
He has turned the corner ever since and reached dizzying heights from the beginning of 2007, which also coincided with Brian Lara’s retirement, leading the West Indies batting at almost every turn, and is now eighth on the all-time list.
The ‘Tiger’ has 11 414 runs and is behind only Sachin Tendulkar (15 921), Ricky Ponting (13 278), Jacques Kallis (13 289), Rahul Dravid (13 288), Kumar Sangakkara  (11 988), Lara (11 953) and Mahela Jayawardene (11 814). With Lara and Jayawardene retired and in closing distance, Shiv is likely to certain to finish his career in the top six.
Chanderpaul’s stats are consistent in most aspects: he averages more than 40 in all countries where he has played at least five Tests, except Pakistan and Australia. The one country he has consistently struggled in is Australia: in 21 Test innings he has a highest of 82, and an average of 30.20. In Pakistan he averages 32.54, but he hasn’t played there since 2006.
His consistency also extends to his stats against different types of bowling. No bowler has dismissed him more than seven times; Anil Kumble has got him out most often with seven, while Kallis, Angus Fraser and Danish Kaneria have dismissed him six times each.
 
 

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