Roseau: Shivnarine Chanderpaul, only the 10th player in history to make 10,000 Test runs, believes hard graft and long hours in the nets propelled him to his landmark. The 37-year-old became only the second West Indian to reach the magic figure when he went to 14 in his side's second innings in the ongoing third and final Test against Australia at Windsor Park.
Playing in his 140th Test, the veteran went on to make a typically patient 69 off 122 balls -- his 58th Test half-century -- before he was dismissed by Australian skipper Michael Clarke off the last ball of Thursday's play. The only other West Indies batsman to reach the 10,000-run milestone was Brian Lara, who ended his career with 11,953 runs.
"I have been batting well and spending a lot of time at the crease and to reach 10,000 Test runs is something special for me," said Chanderpaul, who made his debut in 1994 and now averages over 50. It was one of the goals I set myself and I believe I have reaped the reward for the hard work I put in. When I go to bat, I know I have a job to do for the team and the people of the West Indies."
Chanderpaul has been his country's standout batsman in the three-match series against Australia, making 103 not out in the first Test in Barbados followed by 94 in Trinidad. He also made 68 in the first innings of the ongoing match. He has 25 Test hundreds and 58 half-centuries with his highest Test score of 203 not out coming against South Africa nine years ago in Guyana.
Teammate Darren Bravo, who shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 110 with Chanderpaul which kept West Indies in the game on Thursday, paid tribute to the veteran. "He puts his heart and soul into the way he practices. Shiv's a guy who will bat first at practice and then be the last to leave the nets," said Bravo. "The way he goes about an innings is special, he plays the ball on its merits and his concentration level is very good."
Australia coach Mickey Arthur admitted he was relieved to see the end of Chanderpaul, the last major barrier to the tourists, who had set the West Indies a 370-run target, winning the final Test. The home side will resume on Friday on 173 for five and with virtually no hope of avoiding losing the three-match series 2-0. Arthur believes the dogged Chanderpaul was always destined to make Test runs.
"I saw him when he was very young. He toured South Africa and he looked a very, very good player then," said the coach. "In my last series that I had with South Africa as coach against the West Indies I think Shiv got a hundred in every first innings. You can't help but admire the application and desire to keep scoring runs. You've got to marvel at that -- a fantastic achievement."