West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was once again a massive roadblock that England could not dislodge as the second Test ended in a tense draw in Barbados on Sunday. England declared enough time to give themselves 65 overs to eliminate the West Indies a second time and took five wickets inside 45 overs, including three by spinner Jack Leach. But a singing Barmy Army with a typically good voice couldn’t quite inspire the visitors across the finish line as West Indies finished 135-for-five.
Although England were the better team overall, the game will be remembered for Brathwaite’s outstanding batting performance. After stoically occupying the crease for nearly 12 hours scoring 160 out of 489 in the first innings, he was there at the bitter end on Sunday, undefeated on 56, having spent almost an hour in the field for five long days.
“Sometimes the pitch with the hardest ball was difficult, but I stuck to my plans, which were to play as straight and as late as possible,” Brathwaite said. “I’ve worked a lot over the years and making it home for me is a nice feeling with my family here. I’m very happy and grateful.”
Draw ! Incredible effort from both sides over the last 5 days
Then… the spice island!#WIvENG pic.twitter.com/2UBh1E9MWT
— Winds Cricket (@windiescricket) March 20, 2022
Joe Root praised his counterpart’s performance. “Kraigg played brilliantly again,” said the England captain. A winning target of 282 points was never a realistic possibility for West Indies in a contest that followed a remarkably similar trajectory to the first Test. England said they set the West Indies a winning target of 286 from 71 overs in that contest in Antigua which was eventually drawn.
A week later, England took three wickets inside 13 overs, and then got their fifth wicket when Leach had Jason Holder caught for a 24-ball duck in the 45th over, at which point the visitors had to imagine their chances. However, wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva, whose batting average is a respectable 26, proved a good foil for Brathwaite, surviving unbeaten on 30, as Leach and part-time spinner Dan Lawrence couldn’t. make another breakthrough.
As Brathwaite continued to defend with the straightest bats, Da Silva happily sent bad balls to the boundary as outfielders close to the legs took cover. Leach finished with 3-36 from 25 overs, while Test newcomer Saqib Mahmood got the other two wickets, making it four for the game. “We had three brilliant breakthroughs, but unfortunately we couldn’t quite get started,” Root said.
Earlier on Sunday, England declared their second innings at 185 for six at lunchtime, although some questioned why the decision hadn’t been made sooner, with the target already looking far beyond the hosts’ abilities . The West Indies were trailing by 96 points after Saturday’s first innings. The third and final test of the series begins on Thursday in Granada.