The West Indies completed a tense, hard-fought victory over England by five wickets in the extended final session of the third day of the third and final Test at Kensington Oval on Sunday.
The hosts were set 192 to win and were guided to their target by a fifth wicket partnership of 108 between left-hander Darren Bravo, who was out for 82 with four runs required, and Jermaine Blackwood.
Blackwood, missed on a stumping by wicket-keeper Jos Buttler off spinner Joe Root when he was 4, followed his first-innings top score of 85 with an unbeaten 47. He hit the winning boundary five minutes into the additional half-hour granted by umpires Bruce Oxenford and Billy Bowden, giving the West Indies 194 and leveling the three-match series at 1-1.
Until Bravo and Blackwood came together at 80-4 on 40-year-old left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s dismissal for zero in the second over after tea, the match was evenly balanced.
Buttler’s blunder was the turning point. Neither Blackwood nor Bravo made an error afterwards as they guided the West Indies home to the delight of the minority locals in a crowd of 11,000 dominated by an estimated 6,000 traveling England supporters.
When Bravo drove his 148th delivery for a head-high catch off fast bowler Ben Stokes to Stuart Broad at mid-off with victory one shot away, he had hit three sixes and seven fours in his highest score since his 109 against New Zealand last June.
Blackwood’s winning boundary was his fourth four. He also lifted a six into the stand at mid-wicket from off-spinner Moeen Ali.
Starting the day at 39-5 in their second innings, England added 84 for their last five wickets, mainly through Buttler’s aggression. He hit two sixes and four fours in an unbeaten 35, sharing successive stands of 23 with Gary Ballance and 33 with Stokes before the last three batsmen fell for four runs between them.
Fast bowler Jason Holder claimed Chris Jordan leg-before wicket and bowled Broad with successive deliveries to finish with figures of 3-15. Fast bowler Jerome Taylor took 3-33 and left-arm spinner Veeraswammy Permaul 3-45.
After openers Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite were dismissed within four balls of each other, leaving West Indies at 35-2, left-hander Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels steadied the team by doubling the score before Samuels was bowled for 20 by a sharp inswinger from Stuart Broad just before tea.
Another failure by Chanderpaul, the rock of the West Indies batting for most of his 164 Tests, could signal the end to the veteran’s illustrious career.
His loss seemed to give England the advantage but Buttler’s blunder and the confident batting of Bravo and Blackwood gradually regained it for the West Indies.