Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope hit brilliant centuries to put West Indies in control against England

The tourists closed with a lead of 71 and will resume on the third day on 329 for five with Hope still at the crease unbeaten on 147

Chris Stocks
Headingley
Saturday 26 August 2017 18:31
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Kraigg Brathwaite hit a brilliant century as West Indies took control at Headingley
Kraigg Brathwaite hit a brilliant century as West Indies took control at Headingley

It’s exactly a week since West Indies lost 19 wickets in a day to slip to a humiliating innings defeat at Edgbaston. Now they find themselves contemplating victory against England after brilliant hundreds from Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope put them in control of this second Test.

The beauty of sport lies in its unpredictability and nobody among the sell-out crowd here in Leeds would have expected this.

The fight so lacking in West Indies’ efforts during the opening Test of the series in Birmingham was there for all to see during a mammoth 246-run stand between Brathwaite and Hope that spanned 68.3 overs.

Brathwaite passed three figures after a fine innings 

By the close, the tourists found themselves with a lead of 71 and, resuming the third day on 329 for five and with Hope still at the crease unbeaten on 147, they will hope to convert that into a match-winning advantage.

Brathwaite’s sixth Test hundred led the way after his side had been reduced to 35 for three early on this second day.

But he was outshone in the end by Hope, whose maiden century at this level has presented Joe Root’s team with a significant challenge to overcome in this match if they are to engineer a victory that would see them take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

Hope was outstanding at the other end

England’s first-innings 258 now certainly looks an under-par total. But they can at least take solace from the fact they did dislodge West Indies’ match-shaping fourth-wicket partnership, Stuart Broad bowling Brathwaite on 134 to end an innings that had lasted for six hours and three minutes.

There was a wicket for Ben Stokes, too, before the close, the all-rounder having Roston Chase caught at slip by Alastair Cook for five.

Yet as valuable as those breakthroughs were, it rather felt like closing the stable door after the horse had already bolted.

Hope too moved to his century

Things had started well for England when James Anderson’s first spell of the day brought the wickets of nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo and Kyle Hope, Shai’s older brother.

Bishoo fell to the 16th ball of the day, edging England’s record wicket-taker behind to Jonny Bairstow for just one.

Hope senior was then caught brilliantly by a diving Root at second slip as West Indies were reduced to 35 for three.

Hope was eventually dismissed after being brilliantly caught by Root 

That moved Anderson, who had also claimed the wicket of Kieran Powell the previous evening, onto 495 Test wickets.

The hosts, though, were to be frustrated thereafter as Brathwaite overturned two on-field decisions to move past 50 by lunch, with his side heading into the interval on 109 for three.

Brathwaite was twice given out lbw by umpire Sundaram Ravi, firstly to Broad on 35 and then to Moeen Ali on 46.

But he used the Decision Review System well to survive and reached his half-century in 89 balls the delivery after that second scare, dispatching Moeen for six to reach the landmark in style.

Brathwaite was being ably supported by Hope, who reached 50 in the third over after lunch when he drove Chris Woakes for four.

And West Indies’ fourth-wicket pair saw their partnership soon pass 100 as England’s frustrations grew during a wicketless afternoon session.

Those frustrations grew when England wasted a review on a caught behind appeal in attempt to dismiss Brathwaite on 81.

Hope was then spared on 72 shortly before tea, Mark Stoneman the guilty party at short leg after Moeen managed to find a rare edge.

Broad eventually got Brathwaite in the evening session (Getty)

England’s desperation was illustrated by the sight of Tom Westley being asked to bowl his occasional off-spin in the hope of sparking something, anything.

However, Brathwaite took the opportunity to tuck into Westley’s bowling, hoisting the Essex player high over long on for six to reach his century with a flourish. The Bajan got there in 189 balls and it was an innings that guided West Indies to 206 for three by tea, a deficit of just 52.

Hope got to three figures shortly after the interval, taking a quick single off Ben Stokes to reach his landmark in 159 balls.

By that stage his partnership with Brathwaite was worth 191 and West Indies had drawn to within 32 runs of their opponents’ first-innings total.

They eclipsed it shortly after England had taken the second new ball.

But the change did not immediately alter the home team’s luck, with a review being wasted when Hope was on 119 after replays showed the batsman had not edged a Woakes delivery behind.

It was the third dud review of the day but England’s prospects did brighten not long after when both Brathwaite and Chase fell in quick succession.

It left West Indies 296 for five, a lead of 38, and they took that beyond 50 before the close to take a stranglehold in this match.

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