Many cricket fans would be in a joyful mood after watching what transpired at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. Windies beat England by 10 wickets in three days to win the second Test, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Before the start of the tour, if you had said that that after the first two Tests Windies would be leading 2-0, you would have been laughed at. But the reality is that the home side has blown away Joe Root’s men, as you can see in the victory margin in both the Tests.
England lost the first Test by a whopping 381 runs at Barbados in 4 days.
The performance in the second Test from Windies proved that the first Test victory at Barbados last week wasn’t a flash in the pan. They are a rapidly improving side, especially at home, and have given hope to fans all over the world that Windies cricket might be in for a resurgence.
To put the series win in perspective, this is only the second time Windies have won the Wisden Trophy in the past 10 series. England have dominated during this period, with seven series wins and one draw.
The young fast bowler Alzarri Joseph, who lost his mother mid-match after a long battle with brain tumour, decided to play on. That showed the mindset of the whole side; they wanted to win this Test badly.
It was a great effort by the young man as he first fought with the bat and later came back to pick up two wickets in a hostile spell of fast bowling.
There have been quite a few positives for Windies in the whole series so far. Here's a look at the most significant talking points from the Antigua Test:
1. The height of the Windies' bowlers really troubled the Englishmen
While England relied more on swing and seam, the Windies had players who are natural “hit the deck” type of bowlers. That was one of the key differences on a wicket which had lively grass and also variable bounce right through the Test.
The likes of Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph are all over 6’, and had a significant height advantage when compared to James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Sam Curran. Variable bounce becomes even more dangerous when the ball is delivered at a good pace and more importantly, from that height.
2. The home side's batsmen were solid and tenacious
It was always going to be tough to bat on a green pitch, especially with both sides having four quicks in their ranks.
After Holder won the toss and decided to bowl, the English batsmen couldn’t cope with the movement off the track and also some steep bounce off a good length. The delivery that got rid of Root in the first innings would have reminded everyone of Windies in the 80s and early 90s.
After England managed to score 187, which was not a bad score on that track, everyone was interested in seeing how the home side would go about their business with the bat. The openers had to face a nasty one and a half hour spell late on Day 1 but both Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell showed England how to battle it out in the middle.
Darren Bravo, the most experienced and probably the best batsman in the current Windies lineup, batted with extreme application and grit and in the process scored the slowest 50 (216 balls) by a Windies batsman in Test cricket. Even though this was not a massive score, it went a long way in Windies securing a match-winning lead.Published 03 Feb 2019, 15:12 IST