Beefy'Botham slams England over declaration timing

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Trinidad (West Indies), Mar.11 (ANI): Former England all rounder Ian Botham has slammed the late declaration by the side in the final Test against West Indies here, branding it as "pathetic" and "weak".

Needing victory in Trinidad to level the series, captain Andrew Strauss waited until lunch at the Queen's Park Oval to send the hosts in to chase a target of 240 runs. The West Indies narrowly held on for a draw, closing on 114 for eight.

"They obviously have not got long memories after Antigua," the Daily Express quoted Botham, as saying.

The West Indies on the other hand was thrilled to regain the coveted Wisden Trophy for the first time since 2000. Left with 66 overs in which to bat in their second innings after England's lunchtime declaration, West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals but clung on tenaciously to reach the close on 114 for 8.

The heroes of the closing overs were wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, who produced the rearguard of his life to finish unbeaten on 17 from 87 deliveries, and Fidel Edwards, their man for a cliffhanger, who reprised his nerveless role in Antigua last month by facing up to Monty Panesar with nine men round the bat, and blocking out the final five deliveries of the series.

For West Indies it was a sensational escape, their second in three Tests either side of last week's drawn Test in Barbados, and one which sealed their first series victory since 2004.

In the process, the result vindicated Chris Gayle's controversial tactics at the start of the game, not to mention their selection of an extra batsman.

There were indeed echoes of the third Test, in Antigua, when the tourists set West Indies a huge fourth-innings target but could only get them nine wickets down.

On Tuesday, Strauss could have ended England's third innings when Matt Prior was bowled after his 61 from 49 balls had established a 209-run lead.

Former England all-rounder Botham added: "They should have declared when Prior went out. Do we want to win this? I think we lost the plot."

Former England wicketkeeper Alec Stewart added: "I wanted to see the West Indies in before lunch. I think they missed a trick."

Bob Willis added to the criticism of the declaration.

"I can't believe they did not declare when Prior went," the former fast bowler added.

"The only way England could win was if West Indies were going for runs." (ANI)

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