- in Environment
|Second Test, Emirates Old Trafford (day four of five)|
|England 469-9 dec (Stokes 176, Sibley 120) & 129-3 dec (Stokes 78*)|
|West Indies 287 (Brathwaite 75) & 198 (Brooks 62, Broad 3-42)|
|England won by 113 runs; series level at 1-1|
Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad again provided the inspiration for England to complete a series-levelling 113-run victory over West Indies in the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford.
Stokes cracked 78 not out from 57 balls to allow England to declare on 129-3, setting West Indies 312 to win or 85 overs to survive.
Broad took 3-1 on the fourth evening and tore through the top order with three more wickets on Monday to leave West Indies 37-4.
Their recovery came in the shape of a century partnership between Jermaine Blackwood and Shamarh Brooks, who both made fifties.
Stokes produced the breakthrough, having the tangled Blackwood top-edge a pull to a diving Jos Buttler in a sustained spell of short bowling.
Further resistance came from West Indies captain Jason Holder but, when he was bowled by Dom Bess, England could scent victory.
The win was completed with nearly 15 overs to spare, Bess having Kemar Roach caught at short leg to leave West Indies 198 all out and the series level at 1-1.
The only concern for England was the sight of Stokes pulling up mid-over, appearing to hold his groin, late in the day, but he said there are no concerns over his availability for the third and final Test beginning on Friday at the same ground.
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England win sets up intriguing finale
Despite the surreal behind-closed-doors environment, this series has served up two superb finishes – West Indies’ run-chase in Southampton and England’s race against time in Manchester.
In order to level the series, England produced an excellent performance, overcoming the disruption caused by Jofra Archer’s breach of the bio-secure protocols, being asked to bat in difficult conditions on day one and the obstacle of the entire third day being lost to rain.
In doing so, they have set up an intriguing finale when they will look win back the Wisden Trophy, defend a six-year unbeaten home record and prevent a first West Indies series win here since 1988.
They face decisions, especially around the make-up of a pace attack that has been rotated. Do they retain any of Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran, or recall Archer and either of rested pair James Anderson and Mark Wood? Will off-spinner Bess make way for Jack Leach?
Can West Indies, an hour away from earning the draw that would have guaranteed a share of the series, stir themselves to ensure they do not end their tour empty handed?
The suspicion is that England have the momentum, and they will have been relieved when Stokes explained that his discomfort was only a result of stiffness from his exertions in this match.
Stokes and Broad star
Stokes and Broad have combined to engineer this victory one match after Stokes, as stand-in captain, was part of the decision to omit Broad for the first Test, leaving the pace bowler “angry, frustrated and gutted”.
While Broad responded with a reminder of his enduring quality, Stokes produced another sensational all-round display.
With England resuming on 37-2 and looking for quick runs on the final morning, Stokes – on 16 after opening the batting – signalled his intent with a glorious loft over long-off for six off pace bowler Roach in the first over.
Let off on 29 when John Campbell dropped a simple chance at deep cover, Stokes moved to 50 from 36 balls – the fastest half-century in Tests by an England opener – and took his match tally to 254 runs after his careful 176 in the first innings.
Broad’s burst revived England on Sunday, and he picked up where he left off, nipping the ball in to the right-handers from a full length, endangering pads and stumps.
When England were held up, Stokes produced another Herculean spell of 11 overs to open the door, and the hosts chipped away from there.
West Indies defiance finally breached
West Indies have been determined with the bat throughout the series, and their spirit almost ensured they escaped this match with a draw.
After 15 overs, they were in disarray. Campbell played an awful drive to be caught behind, Shai Hope was bowled by one that nipped back and Roston Chase was lbw shouldering arms, all to Broad. Kraigg Brathwaite was stuck on the crease to be leg before to Woakes.
However, Blackwood rescued West Indies from 27-3 in Southampton and he counter-attacked here. Brooks was more circumspect, but also hit Bess for two straight sixes.
They were parted when Blackwood flapped at Stokes, Buttler taking a wonderful catch, and after Shane Dowrich and Brooks were leg before to Woakes and Curran respectively, only Holder and the tail remained.
Bess had endured a frustrating afternoon, but two balls after he was launched for a straight six by Holder, he fizzed a quicker ball through the captain’s defence.
Stokes had Alzarri Joseph held at point by Bess before hobbling to his fielding position in the slips midway through an over, leaving Bess to take the final wicket.
‘I expected this from England a week ago’ – what they said
Player of the match Ben Stokes on BBC Test Match Special: “To come here after a disappointing loss in Southampton, to perform like we did here, especially with rain, shows we are capable of putting in performances like this. It can be driving force for us.”
“The way we bowled all day was unbelievable. The way Broady has come back has been absolutely awesome. Everyone has put their hands up and contributed to a great win.”
England captain Joe Root on BBC Test Match Special: “Ben keeps developing his game and improving all the time. Credit to him – he really has taken every opportunity to make himself a better player.
“Throughout the game you’ve seen how destructive he can be when he needs to be, and when he needs to bat time and play to the situation, he can do that too.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan: “This kind of performance by England is what I expected a week ago. For whatever reason last week they didn’t arrive with the bat in hand.”
Ex-England captain Alastair Cook: “England will be pleased with how they batted here. They dug in and learnt the lesson of going big. You don’t lose many games when you get 450.
“England will go into Friday with a lot of confidence.”
West Indies captain Jason Holder: “I’m a little disappointed with the way we batted. Yesterday’s evening batting performance really set us back.
“We need a few more of those starts and capitalising on certain moments in the game. We just have to tighten up a little more.
“It’s all to play for. This is the perfect return to cricket.”