West Indies pulled off a dramatic 5-wicket win against England at Headingley on Tuesday. This was their first Test win on English shores since 2000. Chasing a stiff target of 322, Windies batsmen displayed impeccable application on the final day of play in the second Test to secure an improbable win. Shai Hope was the shining light of the innings as he hit a fine unbeaten hundred (120*) to guide his side to victory. He was ably supported by Kraigg Braithwaite who scored a well made 92. Also with this result, the three match Test series is now tied at 1-1. For his two centuries in both the innings, Shai Hope was deservedly rewarded with the man of the match award.
Earlier, after winning the toss England had chosen to bat. However, they faltered in the first innings and were bundled out for 258. Taking advantage of the mediocre performance by the hosts, West Indies posted a strong first innings total of 427. England then came back strongly in the second innings and scored 490. With a lead of 321, skipper Joe Root decided to declare. Chasing 322 seemed like an impossible task for the Windies, especially after their disastrous performance in the previous Test.
However, they began cautiously and on the final day’s play batted with dogged determination to put forth a commendable performance. The pitch started to deteriorate but the Windies were resolute in reply. While they did have a shaky start in the fourth innings after losing Kieran Powell and Kyle Hope early, Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope steadied the ship with a brilliant run 144-run stand. It was their partnership that brought Windies closer to the win.
The England bowlers, meanwhile, struggled to get a breakthrough. A lot of dropped catches did not help their cause either. After the match skipper Joe Root admitted that it was the dropped catches that cost them the match. The Windies, taking advantage of the lapses managed to win the match with just four overs to spare. Towards the end, Jermaine Blackwood also played a handy knock of 41 which included three fours and a couple of sixes.
The second Test has proved to be an enticing game of cricket and it has now made the 3-match Test series even-stevens. The third and final Test will take place at Lords and it promises to be a thrilling contest.