West Indies hold out England for draw in 1st Test
St John’s: West Indies held on to draw the first Test after England made a bold declaration on the final day at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
That England came within six wickets of winning on a sluggish pitch with an undermanned bowling attack — seamer Mark Wood was injured — was testament to its tenacity.
West Indies also deserved credit for holding out after being reduced to 67-4. Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder kept England at bay for the last 36 overs, but not without some drama.
After England captain Joe Root notched his 24th Test century and was out for 109, England declared its second innings at 349-6 just before lunch and tempted West Indies with a winning target of 286 from 70 overs.
But West Indies lost too many wickets after lunch and went into survival mode, finishing on 147-4. Bonner was 38 not out after facing 138 balls and Holder 37 not out after 101.
Spinner Jack Leach was the main tormentor.
In the 49th over, he rapped Holder on his back pad on 13 but England didn’t review.
England used its last review in the 53rd over when Leach thought he got Holder’s edge, but no edge was found.
In the 58th, Bonner was given out lbw off Craig Overton, but Bonner reviewed. It showed an inside edge and the out was overturned.
That was England’s last chance, as Bonner and Holder held out for an unbeaten stand of 80, after their key stand of 79 in the first innings.
West Indies made 375 and 147-4 in reply to England’s 311 and 349-6 declared.
England finished its second innings in the morning, resuming on 217-1.
Zac Crawley added four runs to his overnight score before he was yorked by Holder on 121, and Root moved from 84 to 109 then was bowled by Alzarri Joseph.
Root daringly declared two overs later, and if the West Indies was teased to go for the win, it didn’t last long.
Three of the four overs to lunch were maidens.
Opener John Campbell was let off in the eighth over when he was dropped in the slips by Crawley off Leach.
Campbell and captain Kraigg Brathwaite posted their second 50-run opening stand then departed in consecutive overs.
Brathwaite was lbw to Ben Stokes in the 26th over for 33 off 82 balls, then Campbell was dismissed by Leach, caught by Overton at mid off.
Leach got Shamarh Brooks right on tea for 5 at 65-3, and Jermaine Blackwood right after for 2 at 67-4.
Leach bowled 14 maidens in his 30.1 overs of work and took 3-57. But he couldn’t prise out Bonner or Holder.
The second of three Tests starts on Wednesday in Bridgetown, Barbados.