LEEDS, United Kingdom: Kraigg Brathwaite’s defiant unbeaten century and a fine knock from Shai Hope ensured the West Indies continued their spirited fightback in the second Test against England at Headingley on Saturday.
The West Indies were 206 for three in reply to England’s first innings 258, a deficit of just 52 runs, at tea on the second day.
Brathwaite was 102 not out and Shai Hope unbeaten on 85. Their unbroken stand was so far worth 171 runs.
The fourth-wicket duo had come together with West Indies in trouble at 35 for three after James Anderson had dismissed Kyle Hope, Shai’s older brother, on his way to brilliant lunch figures of three wickets for 10 runs in 12 overs.
That left Anderson just five shy of becoming the first England bowler to take 500 Test wickets and the sixth overall. But not even Anderson could make further inroads as Brathwaite and Shai Hope batted through the second session.
Their partnership made England’s decision to drop third seamer Toby Roland-Jones look all the more curious.
Roland-Jones had taken 14 wickets in three Tests at an average of under 20 apiece since making his debut in England’s preceding 3-1 home series win over South Africa.
But despite those fine figures he was omitted at Headingley, with England recalling the fit-again Chris Woakes, ostensibly in a bid to give the Warwickshire all-rounder game time ahead of the upcoming Ashes tour of Australia.
But Woakes too often bowled short on a Headingley pitch where bowlers have traditionally been rewarded for maintaining a fuller length and at tea he had figures of none for 40 in 11 overs.
The West Indies found runs hard to come by while Anderson was bowling under grey skies.
But after Anderson dismissed nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo, caught behind for his overnight one, and had Kyle Hope (three) well taken at second slip by England captain Joe Root, the tourists hit back when the swing specialist was given a breather.