West Indies crush England by 10 wickets to clinch series victory
ST. GEORGE’S: West Indies clinched the Botham-Richards Trophy with an emphatic 10-wicket victory over England in the deciding Test of the series on day four at the Grenada National Stadium on Sunday.
Chasing a token target of 28 in their second innings after earlier dismissing England for 120, West Indies reached it without loss, captain Kraigg Brathwaite hitting the winning runs to seal a 1-0 series triumph. Brathwaite was 20 not out and John Campbell undefeated on six.
It was a stunning result for the home team after being outplayed in the first two drawn Tests, and ensured another barren England trip to the Caribbean.
England have only one series win in the West Indies in the past half-century, a 3-0 victory in 2003-04.
With the ecstatic home fans dancing in the stands, the England players shook hands with Brathwaite and fellow opener John Campbell.
Brathwaite acknowledged that what he described as a “remarkable” series could have gone either way if not for his team’s dominance on day three on Saturday.
“Yesterday was a really remarkable day for us, to show the fight and attitude we had from the get-go, it’s key to carry that forward,” he said. “We can’t take it for granted. It’s easy to be happy with a series win and relax but I don’t think we can relax. We’ve got to stay hungry.”
When England resumed on 103-8, they were already on the brink of defeat with a lead of only 10 runs with just two wickets in hand in their second innings. The visitors lasted another 11 overs in the opening session with Kemar Roach (2-10) taking both England wickets — Chris Woakes (19) and Jack Leach (four).
It took almost 45 minutes for West Indies to break up England’s ninth-wicket partnership, with a stunning reaction catch from Jason Holder doing the job. Woakes middled Roach’s first ball as it went down the leg side and Holder flung out a hand and plucked the ball out of the air at leg gully. Saqib Mahmood, who hit a defiant 49 in the first innings, was three not out.
West Indies medium-pacer Kyle Mayers started the day with an incredible 5-9 from 13 overs, a maiden five-for, but went for five in his first over on Sunday and finished with 5-18 from 17 overs. The batting all-rounder was unwanted for the first two Tests both draws and he replaced spinner Veerasammy Permaul with the aim of strengthening the batting.
However, it was wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua da Silva who was named man of the match for his undefeated 100 in West Indies’ first innings.
“The emotion is still there — 100%. I’ve dreamt of this moment and hopefully it isn’t the last time I win this award,” he said. “I wanted to trust my tailenders — all the credit goes to them. I can’t thank them enough. It is because of them that I’ve won this award.”
The result is likely to extend the debate over Joe Root’s suitability as England captain, despite his superb batting form with two centuries in the series.
After England’s latest defeat, and a 4-0 Ashes humiliation in Australia, Root indicated he still wants to stay on as captain.
“I think I made it quite clear at the start of this game and throughout this tour I’m very passionate about trying to take this team forward,” Root told BT Sport. “I will control what I can. I dont think it’s ever in your hands. I feel like the group are very much behind me, were doing a lot of really good things and we just need to turn that into results now.”
Root did elaborate though on the disappointment of his team’s performance in this critical fixture on a surface which was very different from the placid pitches at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and Kensington Oval.
“Yesterday was really a frustrating day, such an important day in the series and we just didn’t manage it as well as we could have and as we showed in the first two matches,” he explained. “After a difficult winter it’s frustrating after believing that we were making some strides forward.
“I just don’t think we read the surface as well as we should have individually,” Root added in dealing with England’s double batting failure at this venue. “We have made some strides but there’s still a lot of learning that needs to be done. It’s not going to happen overnight and we are going to have to keep working hard.”
West Indies enjoyed their first test series win at home since 2019. That was when England last visited.
West Indies had an intimidating 93-run lead on the first innings after making England bat. England scored 204 and 120, and West Indies 297 and 28-0.
In assessing his team’s ability to once again turn back an England challenge on home soil, Brathwaite acknowledged that appreciating West Indies’ excellent home record against these opponents was important in the preparation for the series.
“At the camp ahead of this series we recognised that this has always been one of our best series at home and we had to fight hard to maintain that record. We put in a lot of work to get ready for this,” he asserted.
“There are a lot of guys in our team whom you can see are willing to learn and when you have seniors like Kemar Roach and Jason Holder continuously leading the way they are great examples to follow.”
ENGLAND (1st innings) 204
WEST INDIES (1st innings)
K. Braithwaite lbw Stokes 17
J. Campbell c Foakes b Overton 35
S.Brooks lbw Mahmood 13
N.Bonner c Foakes b Woakes 4
J. Blackwood lbw Woakes 18
J. Holder c Bairstow b Woakes 0
K. Mayers c Mahmmod b Stokes 28
J. Silva not out 100
A.Joseph c Foakes b Overton 28
K.Roach c Foakes b Mahmood 25
J. Seales c&b Root 13
EXTRAS: (B-1, LB-13, W-2) 16
TOTAL: (all out, 116.3) 297
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-50 (Brathwaite), 2-68 (Brooks), 3-69 (Campbell), 4-82 (Bonner), 5-82 (Holder), 6-95 (Blackwood), 7-128 (Mayers), 8-177 (Joseph), 9-245 (Roach), 10-297 (Seales)
BOWLING: C. Woakes 25-7-59-3 (1w); C. Overton 23-3-81-2 (1w); Saqib Mahmood 24-9-45-2; B. Stokes 22-4-48-2; J. Leach 21-6-49-0; J. Root 1.3-0-1-1
ENGLAND (2nd innings)
A. Lees b Mayers 31
Z. Crawley c Holder b Seales 8
J. Root c Campbell b Mayers 5
D. Lawrence b Mayers 0
B. Stokes c (sub) Brooks b Mayers 4
J. Bairstow c da Silva b Joseph 22
B. Foakes run out 2
C. Woakes c Holder b Roach 19
C. Overton c Holder b Mayers 1
J. Leach c da Silva b Roach 4
S. Mahmood not out 3
EXTRAS (B-13, LB-7, W-1) 21
TOTAL (all out, 64.2 overs) 120
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-14 (Crawley), 2-27 (Root), 3-27 (Lawrence), 4-39 (Stokes), 5-80 (Bairstow), 6-83 (Foakes), 7-97 (Lees), 8-101 (Overton), 9-116 (Woakes), 10-120 (Leach)
BOWLING: K. Roach 9.2-4-10-2; J. Seales 12-2-26-1; K. Mayers 17-9-18-5; J. Holder 8-5-6-0; A. Joseph 16-3-38-1 (1w), J. Blackwood 2-1-2-0
WEST INDIES: (2nd innings)
K. Brathwaite not out 20
J. Campbell not out 6
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-1) 2
TOTAL (0 wkts, 4.5 overs) 28
DID NOT BAT: S. Brooks, N. Bonner, J. Blackwood, K. Mayers, J. Holder, J. da Silva, A. Joseph, K. Roach, J. Seales
BOWLING: C. Woakes 2.5-0-13-0; S. Mahmood 2-0-13-0
SERIES: West Indies won 1-0.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2022