Close of play report: England 258 & 490-8dec lost to West Indies 427 & 322-5 by five wickets.
It is rare that a Test match reaches tea on the final day with all four results possible. That it should do at Headingley with the unlikeliest of those results an England win is testament to the resilience of this West Indies team and in particular the grit and skill of opener Kraigg Brathwaite and the less experienced but no less talented Shai Hope.
Indeed, when Brathwaite was out for 95 after a superb stand with Hope worth 146 – the second time the pair had combined for a substantial partnership in the game – thoughts that the tourists would opt for the safe option and try to bat out for a draw proved wide of the mark.
Hope belied his 23 years and a background of only 11 Tests, to outdo even Brathwaite, moving in the final session to his second hundred to become the first man to score two centuries in a Test in Leeds – an honour that an hour or so previously looked like being claimed by his team-mate, who also reached three figures in his first innings.
Hope’s approach after tea might have been tempered by the loss of his partner and if he was having doubts about his ability to see it through on his own that would have been understandable, but England’s seamers, sensing the threat to the target was now horribly real, opted to bowl tighter lines, depriving the batsmen of any width that would allow them to free their arms.
He was lucky to find an intelligent new companion in Roston Chase, who had come in shortly before the interval. The all-rounder picked up the bulk of what runs were on offer as Hope added only five in the best part of eight overs.When another team-mate arrived in the middle with a new bat for him it could only have been intended to issue him with new instructions or remind him of ones that should have been hammered into him at the break.
Immediately, he crashed Anderson to the backward point boundary, aimed a ferocious drive at the subsequent delivery, which he missed, then jabbed down late on one that nipped back only to see it fly away to beat the despairing dive of long leg.
West Indies were up and running again.
With the best part of 25 overs left, they needed just 89, England’s hopes of avoiding defeat now resting on the new ball, which was due after eight of those.
Their hopes took a further dive when Chase edged Anderson towards first slip; unfortunately Joe Root had stationed only a second slip – himself. It ran away for four. The next ball, another edge, went in the direction of Root: it dropped just short of his outstretched right hand.
Signs of how rattled England were – and especially the short-fused Stokes – followed as Chase jabbed the ball to backward point and set off for a single. The England all-rounder momentarily lost his composure – as he is wont to do – and needlessly hurled the ball at the stumps and the ball sped away for four overthrows.
If the faces of England’s fielders had been showing the strain, by now they were gaunt with fear.
Mason Crane, the sub fielder, however, lifted the gloom for a moment as Chris Woakes was brought back into the attack. He had looked rusty earlier but from his first ball, Chase moved outside his off stump and tried to drive him down the ground. The batsman only succeeded in shanking the ball towards mid-on where Crane dived high to his left to pluck the ball from the air.
Chase had made a useful 30 – the last thing the West Indies would have needed when he came to the crease was another quick wicket – and the score was 246 for four. It was the last wicket England would get until Jermaine Blackwood tried to end the contest in style with only two needed and rushed down the pitch to be stumped by some distance.
Blackwood is an attacking batsman who had seemingly been given licence to play the more attacking role while Hope continued to pick off the ones and twos but it was fitting that it was the latter, top scorer in both innings, who should hit the winning runs: a man without a Test century before this match – he only had one fifty – he had a pair of them by the end of it.
Remarkably, by that end the West Indies still had 4.4 overs in the bank.
Such an outcome seemed improbable if not impossible at the start of the day. The stats were against it, certainly: in 111 third-innings declarations in Test cricket since the beginning of 2010, 73 were won by the declaring side, 38 drawn and none lost.
The ability of new-ball pair Anderson and Stuart Broad seemed to mitigate against it as well. With the new ball only six overs old as play got under way, the experienced duo found occasional prodigious swing and seam movement, while the odd one reared uncomfortably. Brathwaite took a blow on the hand from one.
That was not his only moment of discomfort. Playing and missing at Anderson like a novice, the opener edged a regulation catch to Alastair Cook off Broad and watched in relief as the chance was rejected. He was on four from 30 balls at the time. As England persisted with attacking fields – at one point five slips were lined up alongside Jonny Bairstow – he started to settle,
He saw fellow opener Kieran Powell perish to Broad, caught at fourth slip by Stokes, but a moment of even greater fortune – and an incident that probably influenced the result in favour of his team, even if it seemed the opposite at the time – was to follow.
Driving at Broad, he chipped a catch back to the Nottinghamshire paceman. Broad, in his follow-through, should have grasped the chance but the ball slipped through his hands. To the horror of Kyle Hope, backing up a little too far at the non-striker’s end, it rebounded off the bowler’s thight and on to the stumps.
At that point, West Indies were 53 for two and England would have assumed that the cricketing gods were on their side.
They assumed wrongly, although there was little fortunate about the batting of Brathwaite and Shai Hope as they refocused. Brathwaite was occasionally scratchy – that seems almost essential to his game – but given the opportunity, he drove handsomely if not spectacularly. Hope got beautifully into line and was extremely strong off his legs, The pair, who had added 246 for the fourth wicket in the first innings, added another 33 for the third before lunch.
They were not separated until shortly before the tea break, when Moeen Ali induced Brathwaite, five runs short of three figures, to drive inside one that didn’t turn and Stokes took a simple catch at slip. The thunderous roar that he emitted on taking the catch surely reflected the deep feeling of relief that would have been experienced both within and outside the England dressing room.
But the home side could not capitalise on their breakthrough. Cook, bookending his day with dropped catches, put down Hope off a furious and exasperated Broad when the match was almost lost. Root rotated his bowlers regularly – bar an 11-over spell for Anderson either side of tea and a strange reluctance to bowl Stokes, who got only five overs all day – but it was West Indies who ultimately had the greater belief and seized the day.
In the end it was a triumph of Hope over expectation.
Teatime report: England 258 & 490-8dec West Indies 427 & 199-3 (S.Hope 74*, Chase 2*)
A superb partnership between Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope – for the second innings in a row – put West Indies in with a chance of pulling off a remarkable victory in a second Test that has swung one way and then the other.
The pair had taken the tourists from 53 for two to 197 by the brink of tea when the force of Moeen Ali’s personality – not to mention his skill – brought England back into a game that was beginning to slip away from them; if it was one still unlikely to end in defeat it meant they would have to wait until Lord’s to secure the series.
Brathwaite had moved within one blow of a second hundred in the match – a feat not performed since 2012 when Kieran Powell scored two centuries against Bangladesh – when he drove slightly inside a ball that held its line and edged to Ben Stokes at slip.
To say that Stokes was stoked would be an understatement. His thunderous roar perhaps reflected the deep feeling of relief that would have been experienced both inside and outside the England dressing-room.
Shai Hope was joined by Roston Chase for the final couple of overs before tea, by which time West Indies needed 123 from the remaining 35 overs. He had added 146 with Brathwaite for the third wicket.in a little over 40 overs. Combined with the 246 they had compiled for the fourth wicket in the first innings, it meant they had added almost 400 between them in this match.
Hope was on 74 at the interval, a second Test fifty to add to the century he recorded in the first innings. He had batted beautifully, getting well behind the line of the ball to frustrate the likes of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, particularly strong off his legs through mid-wicket and especially as the ball got older and softer.
Brathwaite had his moments of fortune, first being dropped off Broad on four – a regulation slip chance to Alastair Cook – and when he drove a catch back to the same bowler and was dropped, he should have gone again. If that was lucky for him it was truly unfortunate for Kyle Hope, backing up at the non-striker’s end, who watched in horror as it rebounded off Broad and on to his stumps. He had to go, run out. It didn’t look it at the time, but West Indies might consider that the better break for them – it meant their in-form opener could lay a strong foundation for an unlikely triumph.
When he went for 95, he had batted 180 balls and struck 11 fours, settling in to take advantage of England’s attacking fields after a working over from Anderson and Broad in the early overs of the day. The new-ball pair had found extravagant movement through the air and off the seam but later, the rusty Chris Woakes, and Stokes, who was only introduced late in the second session, struggled to make an impression.
Lunchtime report (day five): England 258 & 490-8dec West Indies 427 & 86-2 (Brathwaite 49*, S Hope 11*)
England got an extraordinary slice of luck as they went in pursuit of the ten West Indies wickets they needed to force victory at Headingley and clinch the three-match series.
Kraigg Brathwaite drove a ball from Stuart Broad back to at him at catchable height and although the pace bowler failed to hold the chance, it slipped through his hands on to his thigh and rebounded back on to the non-striker’s stumps. Kyle Hope, yet to score and backing up too far, looked on helplessly and in horror – and had to go.
That left West Indies 53 for two as they sought an unlikely 322 to win
After rain had delayed the start by 15 minutes, Broad had made the breakthrough in the ninth over of the morning but not before Alastair Cook had missed a regulation chance off the Nottinghamshire opening bowler.
The former England captain spilled a looping chest-high edge from the bat of Brathwaite as the first-innings centurion spent the first half-hour resembling a walking wicket. [Be the first person to tweet the words: “Manny’s angry” to @guerillacricket to get five free pounds to take part in the Guerilla Prediction League]
Curiously, it was James Anderson who had been causing him most trouble, the Barbadian being beaten several times outside the off stump as the Lancastrian, with the ball still new and hard, extracted swing, seam movement and, occasionally, significant bounce.
But it was Anderson’s new-ball partner who grabbed the opening wicket, ironically just as the West Indies opening pair were beginning to take advantage of their opponents’ attacking fields.
Broad had been grooving the outswinger to the left-handed Kieran Powell from round the wicket, one of which he sliced up and over cover point without ever looking in full control of the shot, and eventually the Nevisian pushed hard at the ball and the resulting thick edge flew low to Ben Stokes at gully.
Moeen Ali was brought on as first change on the hour mark and caused Brathwaite some discomfort, most obviously when he played inside a number of balls that, by accident or design, did not turn.
Broad was eventually relieved by Chris Woakes after an impressive workout lasting an hour and 20 minutes.
Brathwaite, on four from 30 balls when reprieved by Cook, had begun to settle and was looking more like the batsman who had scored 137 in initially testing conditions on the second day. He was joined by Shai Hope, with whom he had added 246 for the fourth wicket in the West Indies first innings and England might have been experiencing a sense of deju vu as they put on an unbroken 33 up till lunch.
Two or three pleasant drives had punctuated the more prosaic parts of Brathwaite’s innings and by the break the opener was a single short of a 13th Test fifty. Hope bedded down, punching Woakes at the top of the bounce off the back foot for a fine boundary that took him into double figures and left West Indies still needing 236 to square the series.