Carlos Brathwaite, the former West Indies T20I skipper found England a bit disrespectful at the conclusion of the first Test against West Indies in Antigua on Saturday. West Indies survived a collapse either side of the tea interval to play out a draw on the final day.
Set an unlikely victory target of 286, and having lost four wickets for nine runs to be stumbling at 4-67 at the start of the last session, Nkrumah Bonner and former captain Jason Holder defied the visitors for more than two hours in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 80 off 35 overs to see the home side to safety at 4-147.
Carlos Brathwaite Felt England Should Have Settled For A Draw Earlier But Joe Root-led England Played On Until 5 Balls Were Left
The end of the Test, however, has been marred by accusations of disrespect by former West Indies star Carlos Brathwaite. Carlos Brathwaite believes that England should have shaken hands early to accept the draw but Joe Root played on until five balls remaining, when it was no longer mathematically possible to take six wickets.
“If I were a senior player in the West Indies dressing room, I would have found it a bit disrespectful that in the last hour, with two set batsmen playing as they were and the pitch offering nothing, England still felt they could get six wickets, going all the way down to five balls left,” Carlos Brathwaite said.
“Would England have done that if it were an Ashes Test? Would they have done that against India, New Zealand, Pakistan? I think the answer is no, so why have they done it against us? If West Indies need any sort of steely determination added, I think that passage of play should have given them that. They should be thinking ‘we have two Tests now to prove we are better than England think we are,” Carlos Brathwaite said.
Meanwhile, Nkrumah Bonner’s unbeaten 38, following on from his 123 in the first innings, earned him the man of the match award. Jason Holder finished on 37 not out in yet another important contribution.
“Obviously we wanted to win but we’re happy to come away with the draw,” said Bonner.
“I always wanted to play Test cricket and over the years I set out to bat long. I’m versatile. I adapt to the situation.”
Following Joe Root’s second innings declaration at 349 for six in the morning session, left-arm spinner Jack Leach claimed three wickets in quick succession after Ben Stokes made the breakthrough by removing West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite.
Without the services of their fastest bowler, Mark Wood, due to an elbow injury, the tourists were further frustrated for 25 overs by Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell. However, Ben Stokes was brought into the attack as the fifth bowler and responded by trapping Kraigg Brathwaite leg-before for 33.
Jack Leach drew John Campbell into another false shot and Craig Overton took the catch over his head at mid-on for the left-hander to depart on 22. On the stroke of tea, the spinner struck again as Shamarh Brooks once more failed to impress with Zak Crawley taking the catch low at slip and when Jermaine Blackwood played a poor shot to be plumb to the specialist spinner shortly after the resumption, England sensed victory was within their reach.
Joe Root Proud Of His Team And Reckons They Have To Assess Mark Wood’s Fitness
Earlier, Joe Root duly completed his 24th hundred in Tests at the start of Saturday, but not before he lost Zak Crawley for 121, a well-targeted yorker from Jason Holder separating the pair after a 201-run second-wicket partnership. Zak Crawley’s innings of over five hours occupied 216 deliveries in which he struck 16 fours.
In contrast, Joe Root’s composed effort, which ended when he was bowled by Alzarri Joseph for 109, featured only six boundaries as the skipper faced 204 balls in spending just over five-and-a-half hours in the middle.
“I’m really proud of the team today. Throughout the game we got better and better,” was Joe Root’s assessment.
“We have to assess Mark (Wood) and see if he’s up for the next Test in Barbados. It’s not his fault. You can’t help getting injuries.”
England made clear their intention to declare with a limited-over style attitude which resulted in 132 runs being added for the loss of five wickets at the rate of a run-a-ball.
Dan Lawrence belted 37 off 36 balls, dominating a 70-run third-wicket stand with his captain before he became the first of three wickets in quick succession for Alzarri Joseph, who also accounted for wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes. Kemar Roach, the lone West Indies wicket-taker the previous day when England reached 217 for one, added to his tally when he dismissed Ben Stokes as the rush for runs continued.
“It was hard-fought all five days and I am happy that we had some fight right to the end,” said a relieved Kraigg Brathwaite.
“In the middle (of our batting) though we need to find ways to be tighter. The pitch was good for batting but it might be a bit different in Barbados.”
The second Test between West Indies and England will be played at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, the match starts on March 16.