So Close Yet So Far As Windies Wilt In 2nd Test

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

England won by 113 runs
England 469-9 declared (Chase 5-172) & 129-3 dec (Stokes 78no)
West Indies 287 (Brathwaite 75) & 198 (Brooks 62)

 
The West Indies came within an hour from edging a draw in their rain affected 2nd Test at Lancashire’s Old Trafford, but they clumsily fell apart under pressure to lose by a staggering 113 runs on Monday (20 July). 

Set an stiff target to score over 300 runs in the final day’s afternoon, they appeared to be tottering up the runs only to be tumbled out for 198 from a seemingly healthy 136-4. Like the opening Test, which the tourists won at Southampton by four wickets in their gallant run chase, this contest also went down to the final session on day five. But clinical bowling from England levelled matters, which means that the winners of the Wisden Trophy will be determined at the last behind closed doors Test that begins on Friday. 

With the West Indies having claimed the prestigious Wisden Trophy 2-1 on Caribbean soil 18 months ago, avoiding defeat in the intriguing 3rd Test will be enough to retain the coveted prize. But England will be seeking to continue their momentum from this success and be eager to defend an impressive six-year unbeaten home record.


West Indies captain Jason Holder, who won the toss and elected to field, admitted: “I’m a little disappointed with the way we batted. We just have to tighten up a little more. But it’s all to play for, so this is the perfect return to cricket (after the enforced break because of the coronavirus pandemic).”
Rain delayed the start of opening day and the next day was a washout, but battling England made no mistake at the crease to very slowly build a total of 469-9 before declaring. The Windies bowlers didn’t have the uneven bounce that helped them with such aplomb in the opening Test, and were frustrated by a combination of feeble fielding, indifferent deliveries and largely lethargic performances. 

Barbados all-rounder Roston Chase came to their rescue, the off-spinner collecting figures of 5-172, after Trinidad & Tobago paceman Shannon Gabriel failed to replicate his explosive displays in the 1st Test to finish without a wicket.

England looked nervy at 81-3, but a solid 260-run fourth wicket partnership from Ben Stokes (176) and Dom Sibley (120) put the hosts into cruise control.

The Windies also had a flurry of runs, opener Kraigg Braithwaite (75) and Shamarh Brooks (68) helping make a steady start before the Bajan pair were divided at 199-4 after 68.1 overs. Chase (51) joined Brooks at the crease and, after the latter ended up in the pavilion at 242-5, the tourists capitulated to drift to 287 all out.

Following two swift cheap wickets for Barbados fast bowler Kemar Roach, leaving England at 17-2, star all-rounder Ben Stokes went on the assault after being promoted to open with a rapid-fire 78 off 57 deliveries as the hosts raced to a respectable 129-3 declaration. Stokes raised his game with a nonchalant innings after being dropped early on by Jamaican John Campbell at deep extra cover off Gabriel. 

The Windies made a cautious reply in stark contrast to a spirited England attack, and struggled so much at the start that they were soon staring at potential defeat after just 15 overs at 37-4. Campbell was caught behind, Bajan Shai Hope was clean bowled with both Brathwaite and Chase caught out leg before.

Set an improbable 312 for victory, stylish knocks from Jamaica’s Blackwood (55) and Brooks (62) in a 100-run stand for the fifth wicket gave the Windies a glimmer of hope.

Stokes, who made the breakthrough by trapping Blackwood to top edge a pull to a diving Jos Buttler in the over before tea, left the result in the balance at 137-5. Barbados’ Shane Dowrich was sent back by Chris Woakes for a duck when play resumed, with the tourists looking overwhelmed despite having four wickets remaining. 

Once Brooks fell leg before to Sam Curran it was a question of when rather than if England would wrap up victory, as they looked relentless with the bit between their teeth.

Spinner Dom Bess was the thorn in the Windies’ side. He clean bowled Holder, caught Antigua’s Alzarri Joseph at gully off Stokes then polished off the tourists by having Roach caught at short leg by Ollie Pope. The tourists drooped to a disappointing 198 all out and need to pick themselves up after such a hefty defeat.

The thrilling triumph was completed with just under 15 overs to spare, with the Windies now given only three days to bounce back from this display of disarray if they want to claim their first Test series win in England since 1988.

  

WISDEN TROPHY TEST SCHEDULE
8-12 July
1st Test – West Indies won by four wickets

Ageas Bowl, Southampton

16-20 July – England won by 113 runs
2nd Test – 
Old Trafford, Manchester

24-28 July
3rd Test – 
Old Trafford, Manchester

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