MARCH 20, 2022
Brief Scorecard: West Indies 411 (Brathwaite 160, Blackwood 102) and 136 for 5 (Brathwaite 56*, Leach 3-36) drew with England 507 for 9 dec (Root 153, Stokes 120, Lawrence 91) and 185 for 6 dec (Lawrence 41)
Kraigg Brathwaite thwarted England’s bid for victory with another resolute batting display as the second Test ended in a draw in Barbados.
Brathwaite added an unbeaten 56 to his marathon first-innings 160 as West Indies ended up 136 for 5 in their second innings on a final day which featured greater tension than expected. England fancied their chances before Brathwaite reprised his immovable object routine on his home ground and was well supported by Joshua Da Silva’s 30 not out after England had set West Indies 282 to win in a minimum of 65 overs following a lunch-time declaration.
Three wickets in the middle session gave the visitors hope as they sought what had seemed an unlikely result after a couple of attritional days in which Brathwaite batted for nearly 12 hours, putting on 183 runs off 411 balls with Jermaine Blackwood, and where runs and wickets were at a premium. In all, Brathwaite scored 216 runs for the match, facing 673 balls, more than any other West Indies batter in Tests, and spent almost 16 hours at the crease.
After Saqib Mahmood and Jack Leach combined to reduce West Indies to 39 for 3 inside the first 13 overs of their second innings, Brathwaite and Blackwood were reunited once more and by tea on the final day, West Indies were 65 for 3, the pair having chewed up 108 balls for an unbroken stand of 26 and leaving England 35 scheduled overs in which to take seven wickets.
Two more to Leach, who bowled well all match, stoked England’s ambitions, but with Brathwaite having put a result out of the question, he and Joe Root shook hands with about 15 minutes left in the day and the three-match series locked at 0-0.
Leach sent down 69.5 overs for his 3 for 118 in West Indies’ first innings and he added 3 for 36 off 25 overs in the second. He entered the attack in the sixth over and struck with one that spun sharply to remove John Campbell, caught by Alex Lees at short leg, although it took an England review to overturn umpire Joel Wilson’s not-out decision, with replays showing the ball had kissed Campbell’s glove before hitting the pad.
Similarly, Mahmood had success with the last ball of his opening over, thanks to a juggled slips catch off Shamarh Brooks, the ball bobbing up towards second slip, where Zak Crawley couldn’t hold on as he went to ground and parried it into the air for Root, running behind him from first slip to collect it in his fingertips. Mahmood then had Nkrumah Bonner out via a much more straightforward catch to Root at slip to leave West Indies looking rattled and England jubilant.
But that brought Brathwaite and Blackwood together along with the memories of their earlier stand, and the contest was intricately poised.
Then Leach had Blackwood caught by Jonny Bairstow, kneeling at gully, off one that drifted in before bouncing sharply and turning away, finding the outside edge to end their partnership on 50 from 150 deliveries.
On his knees in the dirt alongside Root as England crowded the bat, Bairstow couldn’t have looked happier in a fitting vignette for what had been a gritty contest characterised by days of hard toil for batters, bowlers and fielders alike.
England’s mood lifted another notch when Jason Holder departed for a 24-ball duck, spearing a rare poor delivery from Leach, short and wide outside off stump, towards short cover, where Dan Lawrence took a sharp catch diving low to his left.
But as Brathwaite managed to find the rope through a gap between the close-in fielders on the leg side to bring up his half-century off a sharply rising Lawrence ball, England’s prospects faded.
Earlier, fifty partnerships for the first and fifth wickets built England’s lead, with Crawley and Lawrence reaching the 40s. Some enterprising yet unselfish batting interspersed by a couple of rain interruptions gave way to England biding their time before another squall arrived to bring lunch forward by a matter of minutes.
Having resumed 136 runs ahead on 40 for 0, the tourists lost three wickets inside the first half hour. In their attempts to raise the tempo, Lees and Root came undone slog-sweeping Veerasammy Permaul to deep midwicket. Alzarri Joseph then had Crawley beautifully caught by Jayden Seales, who ran in from long leg and dived forward to pouch the chance in mid-air.
When the players left the field for about 10 minutes as a rain shower swept through, England were 76 for 3, leading by 172 and with hopes of Lawrence and Ben Stokes piling on some quick runs at the resumption. When they returned, Stokes crashed a four through extra cover and lofted the next ball over deep midwicket for six in one Kemar Roach over which went for 17 runs in all. In the next, Lawrence thumped Joseph in the same direction for a maximum before a second shower arrived, this time halting play for around 40 minutes.
Stokes fell shortly after the re-start while Roach and Joseph looked to keep a lid on things by targeting a yorker length. But Lawrence and Bairstow picked their moments, the latter bludgeoning consecutive sixes off Joseph over deep backward square and down the ground, then Lawrence smashed Seales’ first ball of the day into the stands at long-on.
Bairstow departed shortly after raising their fifty stand, having added 29 runs from just 25 balls, when he sent Seales’ fifth ball to Roach, running in from long-off and stooping low to take the catch. Lawrence also fell trying to heave Seales away and holing out to Joseph at long-on to end with 41 runs from 39 balls.