This test witnessed one of the greatest test match victories one will witness in a lifetime. England Captain, Joe Root took an audacious decision to declare with 322 on the board and almost 3 and a quarter session in hand. He though would have been heavily praised if the result was in his favor. However, Windies had some other plans. Bullied badly in the first test at Edgbaston, Windies team came with a purpose in Leeds.
Root after winning the toss chooses to bat which was a surprise on a pitch which had some moisture in it. His decision backfired as England were bundled out on 258. A courageous bowling spell from Roach and Gabriel in the first innings made sure that Windies are no more to be bullied in this match. After an all round bowling performance it was time for their batsmen to deliver. Much like the previous match, Windies lost 3 wickets for just 35 runs. Then came a partnership which will be cherished by Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope of 246 runs which ensured that Windies will have a good enough lead in the first innings. Both struck a well fought century and some late hitting by Holder and Blackwood took their score past 400.
In the second innings though England came back strongly and six of their batsmen scored a half century. With a lead of 322, England management thought that they had enough for fourth innings total to be chased. After losing Kieran Powell and Kyle Hope early it was again up to the centurions from the first innings to do a job for their side. They both didn’t disappoint as Braithwaite missed out on a potential hundred when a loose shot when he was on 95 made him march back to the pavilion. Hope though made sure that he will see his side through and he along with Chase and Blackwood paced the partnership really well and scripted one of the most famous victories of recent times.
A great end to a great test match, Windies batsmen were up against one of the most quality bowling line ups in their own backyard. One thing which helped Windies cause is some dropped catches. With a quality fielding side like England, you don’t expect them to drop catches but that doesn’t take away anything from the way two emerging stars from Windies, Braithwaite and Shai Hope, the way they stood up to the occasion and made sure that the worst is behind them now. Shai Hope for centuries in both the innings was awarded Man of the Match Award. This is arguably a huge moment for Windies cricket as they have registered a win on English soil in a test match after 17 long years.
Article by Navneet