[dropcap]S[/dropcap]hivnarine Chanderpaul became the second West Indies batsman and just the 10th in the history of Test cricket to reach 10,000 runs on Thursday.
The ever-reliable left-hander made a typically impressive back-to-the-wall 69, as West Indies fought hard to stay alive in the third Digicel Test against Australia at Windsor Park.
Veteran Chanderpaul, in his 140th Test, reached the landmark before tea, when he clipped a delivery from Australia captain Michael Clarke to mid-wicket for a single, moving his career above the 50-run mark.
He immediately raised his bat to acknowledge the warm applause as members of the colourful crowd who all cheered the achievement of one their favourite adopted sons.
The other West Indies batsman to reach the milestone was the great Brian Lara, who ended his illustrious career with 11,953 runs.
Chanderpaul said it was always a dream to reach 10,000 Test runs and he was truly delighted he achieved the goal.
“It felt really, really good to reach this milestone and I am very, very excited,” he said. “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.”
“It was one of the goals I set myself and I believe I have reaped for reward for the hard work I put in over the years. I have worked hard over the years and when I go to bat, I know I have a job to do for the team and the people of the West Indies.
“Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game and this is where you want to perform and give of your best. I will keep striving for more.”
Chanderpaul added: “I have received support from many people over the years and I want to thank everyone for their massive support and their belief in me. I just give thanks for all that I have achieved and the fact that I am still around, fit and strong and I can continue to contribute.
“When I started, I came into a team with many big names and I was able to learn from them and build on what they taught me. Now, part of my role in the team is to help the younger players to do well and try to improve their game and become better cricketers for the team.”
Chanderpaul has been outstanding in the ongoing series. He made 103 not out in the first Digicel Test in Barbados followed by 94 in the second Digicel Test in Trinidad. He also made 68 in the first innings of the ongoing game.
The outstanding 37-year-old made his Test debut as a frail 19-year-old against England at on home soil 18 years ago at the Bourda Oval. He made a determined 62 in his first Test innings and appeared destined for greatness.
Over the last two decades, he has developed a reputation as one of the most difficult batsmen to dislodge, often at his best in difficult situations.
In a superb career, he has now made 25 Test hundreds and 58 half-centuries. His highest Test score is 203 not out against South Africa nine years ago at Bourda.
One of the highlights of his career came four years ago, when he won the prestigious Garfield Sobers Trophy for becoming the ICC World Cricketer-of-the-Year award.