Cricket Article

West Indies Thump England to go 1-0 up

West Indies Thump England to go 1-0 up Photo: TT
Holder Guided WI to a win over England

West Indies thrashed England by 381 runs to win the first test against England in Barbados inside four days.

The teams went into the match with a completely different reading of the pitch, with England choosing to play two specialist spinners in the shape of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, leaving out Stuart Broad, whilst the hosts opted for an all pace attack. It proved to be a fatal flaw by the visitors.

West Indies gave a debut to John Campbell, and after the home side won the toss and chose to bat, he was soon in action opening the innings with Kraigg Braithwaite.

The pair made a fine start, putting on 53 for the first wicket before Campbell was lbw to Ali for an impressive 44. Braithwaite and Shai Hope then made 73 for the second wicket before Ben Stokes, playing his 50th test match, struck twice. First he had Braithwaite caught by Joe Root off a leading edge for 40, and then, in his next over, had the recalled Darren Bravo lbw for 2.

However, after a brief shower, the West Indies were op top, and Shai Hope and Roston Chase added 46 before Jimmy Anderson got one to hurry through, and Hope was caught behind for 57.

Chase and Shimron Hetmyer added 66 but then, returning to the attack after tea, Anderson produced a superb spell of 3 for 6 in 5 overs, to change the complexion of the contest. First he had Chase caught by Rot for 54, and then Shane Dowrich was caught by Jos Buttler for a duck. He then accounted for the West Indian captain Jason Holder caught and bowled. Not to be outdone, Stokes had Kemar Roach caught off the last ball of the day, as West Indies closed on 264 – 8.

Resuming on the second morning, Hetmyer was determined to attack, and struck some lusty blows as the number 10 batsmen Alzarri Joseph tried to stay with him. However, then Anderson had Joseph caught at third slip and, in the next over, Stokes had Hetmyer, who had hit 2 sixes and 9 fours, caught behind for 81, as the home side were bowled out for 289. Anderson finished with 5 for 46, the 27 time that he had captured five wickets in tests, drawing him level with Ian Botham’s England record. Stokes himself took 4 – 59.

In reply, England made an indifferent start to their innings. Keaton Jennings, under pressure for his place, made a positive start, but, having scored 17, chased a wide delivery form Holder and was caught in the gulley. His opening partner Rory Burns struggled with the bat and was bowled by Kemar Roach for just 2, with the same bowling accounting for Jonny Bairstow in identical fashion for 12. And then captain Joe Root fell, lbw to Holder as England slipped to 44 – 4.

Worse was then to follow as, four runs later, Stokes was lbw to Roach without scoring. In came Moeen, only to depart first ball to Roach, caught at fine leg. Roach then took his 5th wicket in his next over, having Buttler caught behind, as England slumped to 49 – 7, having lost 5 wickets for as many runs. Next to fall was Ben Foakes, caught behind for 2 off the bowling of Joseph, as the dismal England display continued. Sam Curran tried to counter-attack, but, having reached 14, was undone by a bouncer from Shannon Gabriel and could only glove the ball to gully.

The end of what was a thoroughly embarrassing effort by England came when Adil Rashid was caught in the slips off Joseph for 12, as England were bowled out for 77, in a little over 30 overs. Roach took 5 for 17, whist there were two wickets apiece for Holder and Joseph.

The West Indies chose not to enforce the follow-on, but opted to bat again. Instead they looked to press home their advantage and build their lead with their openers Braithwaite and Campbell. Again the pair made a good start before the West Indies suffered their own collapse, losing 5 wickets for just 9 runs. First to fall was Braithwaite, lbw to Moeen for 24, followed by his partner Campbell, caught at cover off Stokes for 33. Then three wickets fell in the space of seven balls, Moeen picking up both Bravo and Chase, both caught at slip by Stokes, who then claimed his own wicket, having Hope caught at short leg.

Hetmyer and Shane Dowrich helped build the lead with a stand of 59 for the sixth wicket, before Hetmyer was the last wicket to fall on the day, caught by Buttler off the bowling of Curran for 31. At close of play West Indies were 127 – 6 in the second innings, with a lead of 339 runs, and 4 wickets still standing.

The third day was nothing short of traumatic for England as Holder and Dowrich first of all snuffed out any homes that they had of saving the match and then set about laying down a decisive marker for the rest of the series. The pair put on an unbeaten 285, a record for the seventh wicket as England went wicket less, as the ball flew to all parts of the ground.

Holder was the star of the show, the West Indies captain hitting an unbeaten 202, which included 8 sixes and 23 fours, but he was more than ably supported by Dowrich, who recorded his only century, and was 116 not out when the West Indies declared on 415 – 6, giving them a massive lead of 627.

It was a terrible day in the field for England, with Stokes in particular beating the bat on a number on occasions, whilst they will know they could have stopped the carnage earlier if they had caught Holder off the several chances which they dropped.

Burns and Jennings managed to see out the 20 overs to the start of the England second innings to close on 56 without loss, but with England still trailing by 571 runs, defeat was inevitable.

Resuming on Day 4, Burns and Jennings looked to continue to play sensibly, but then Jennings was out in familiar fashion, caught on the drive off the bowling of Joseph for 14. Burns and Bairstow then added 49 until, on the stroke of lunch, Burns was bowled by Roston Chase for 84, his highest score yet in his fledgling test career.

Bairstow was the next to fall, flicking a ball from Shannon Gabriel to Hope for 30, followed by his captain Root, out for 22 after guiding a ball from Chase straight to first slip. Ben Stokes managed one six but then he missed a straight ball from Chase, and he was lbw for 34. Ali then gifted Chase another wicket on the stroke of tea, wafting a ball straight to Holder at slip.

Chase then picked up his 5th wicket of the innings on the resumption of play, Buttler falling to him for 26, thanks to a great catch at mid-wicket by Chase. And then Foakes was out to the same player, brilliantly caught by Hetmyer at short leg. The spinner then picked-up his seventh wicket when Adil Rashid holed out on the boundary. And then he made history by picking up his 8th wicket, to have Curran stumped for 17, as England were bowled out for 246. His 8 for 60 was the best return by a West Indies spinner ever.

Holder was named man of the match.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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