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England in West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite denies tourists’ victory push on final day

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No West Indies batter has ever faced more deliveries than the total faced by their captain Kraigg Brathwaite in this Test
Second Test, Barbados (day five):
England 507-9 dec & 122-5 dec: Lawrence 41, Crawley 40; Permaul 2-22, Seales 2-34
West Indies 411 & 135-5: Brathwaite 56*; Leach 3-36
Match drawn
Scorecard

England’s unlikely victory push was again thwarted by West Indies as the second Test in Barbados ended in a draw.

Having given themselves two sessions to dismiss West Indies and take a 1-0 series lead, England took their fifth wicket after tea to set up a tense final hour.

But West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite, who scored an 11-hour 160 in the first innings, survived 184 balls for 56 not out to deny England again.

The opener batted for 673 balls across both innings, the most by a West Indies batter in Test history.

England, who earlier declared on 122-5 at lunch, reduced West Indies to 39-3 before the gritty right-hander saw off 25 overs with Jermaine Blackwood.

In the final session, Jack Leach had Blackwood caught gully for 27 and Jason Holder taken at cover for a duck, but Brathwaite found a dogged partner in wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva.

They survived the next 20.3 overs before the players eventually shook hands with 13 minutes left and the score 135-5.

It means both Tests in this series so far have ended in almost identical draws and the sides head to the final Test in Grenada, which begins on Thursday, with the series still level at 0-0.

Gruelling Test ends in draw

This Test has been gruelling. Thanks to the surface, it ended with the result many predicted from the second day, although England’s effort on the final day was admirable.

Their inexperienced bowling attack, however, lacked the tools on a slow pitch to prise out a batter who played brilliantly.

Leach bowled a massive 94.5 overs across both innings – no England bowler has bowled as many balls in a Test since 1962. When he removed Blackwood, West Indies’ second first-innings centurion, and Holder, who helped save the first Test for the hosts, there was genuine hope.

But, despite Leach offering some good deliveries with some turn on offer, Brathwaite always held firm in their duel.

Debutant Saqib Mahmood bowled an excellent first spell in which he had Shamarh Brooks and Nkrumah Bonner caught in the slips but as the innings went on and the ball went softer, the seamers became ineffective. Part-time spinner Dan Lawrence looked the most likely wicket-taker towards the end.

Ultimately, another draw means England’s poor run continues with their recent record now standing at one win in 16 Tests.

They chased the game with the bat in the morning, adding 145 runs for the loss of six wickets before declaring – albeit the declaration could have come five overs earlier – and can again take positives, while hoping for a surface with more life for the series decider.

Brathwaite’s Test to remember

Brathwaite may not be the most eye-catching batter in West Indies’ illustrious history but he can claim to be one of the most resilient.

As in the first innings, he was solid in defence and seemed able to put the occasionally spinning balls from Leach out of his mind.

Despite wickets tumbling around him, Brathwaite did not offer a chance throughout his innings. When rare balls kept low he was able to get bat on to ball.

In total, Brathwaite was off the field for just 21.1 overs of a five-day match and without him England would almost certainly have won.

West Indies have only lost one series at home against England in 54 years. Their captain has given them a better chance of holding on to that record with one Test to play.

England’s second ‘winning draw’ – reaction

England captain Joe Root: “If we keep putting ourselves in these positions it won’t be long before we see ourselves winning a Test here. I can’t ask any more of the group. They were brilliant again. The attitude was excellent. Concentration and ability to take those chances with some tired bodies around was a great effort, so a lot of good signs again throughout the whole game, so a really pleasing week.

“In terms of where we’ve been this winter and where we’re starting to see improvements, it is a really promising thing from us.”

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite: “I am feeling quite good. I thought England obviously played well, batted well.

“We put in a very big effort but we want a result in the last Test. We have to see what they produce [pitch in Grenada] but let’s hope it has something for the pacers.”

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “England dominated this game. It’s their second ‘winning draw’ of the series, but more consistent spin bowling might have won them the match. Clearly, with a tour of Pakistan coming up next winter, that’s something that needs to be looked at. But overall, more plusses than minuses.”

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