ST GEORGE’S – West Indies won the newly-minted Vivian Richards & Ian Botham Trophy, symbol of Test supremacy against England, when they completed a 10-wicket win on Sunday in the deciding third Test in Grenada.
Chasing a modest 28 to win, the Windies needed only 4.5 overs to reach the target without loss after they had dismissed the English for 120 in their second innings about an hour after the start on the penultimate day at the National Cricket Stadium.
Kraigg Brathwaite, not out on 20, formalised the result for the hosts about half-hour before the scheduled lunch interval when he turned a delivery from pacer Chris Woakes off the pads into mid-wicket for a deuce.
The Barbados Pride and West Indies Test captain was later named Player-of-the-Series after he accumulated 341 runs at an average of 85.25 from his six innings in the three Tests.
The result gave the Windies a 1-0 win in the three-Test series after the first two Tests – at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua and Kensington Oval in Barbados – were drawn.
The Caribbean side also earned a valuable 12 points, taking them to 30, and seventh in the nine-team ICC World Test Championship table, leaving England rooted to the foot of the standings on 18, as their winter of discontent continued.
West Indies also retained their enviable home record against England of only losing one Test series in the past half-century when Michael Vaughan’s side won a four-match series 3-0 over Brian Lara’s men 18 years ago.
Brathwaite said he was happy that his side had won the match and the series, but he urged his teammates to push to be better, so that they can enjoy more happy days playing the game.
“It’s easy to be happy with a series win and relax, but I don’t think we can relax,” he said during the post-play presentation ceremony. “The guys have got to stay hungry.
“We learned a lot from this series. At different periods, we saw we could do it. (Saturday) was really a remarkable day for us, to show the fight, the attitude we had from the get-go, it’s key to carry that forward. Just keep building. We’ve got to continue, we can’t take it for granted.”
The series for Brathwaite’s side, described in the English media as “mediocre”, condemned the visitors to questions about team leadership and team selections after they also stumbled to defeat in a bruising Ashes series against Australia on the road before coming to the Caribbean.
Earlier, Windies met resistance for close to 45 minutes from the overnight pair of Chris Woakes and Jack Leach after England resumed on 103 for eight, with a lead of only 10 and two wickets standing in their second innings.
The introduction of long-serving Barbados Pride pacer Kemar Roach after nine overs brought immediate success for the home team and he got Woakes for 19 with his first delivery when the England all-rounder flicked a wayward delivery and Jason Holder swooped low at leg-gully and held a sharp, one-handed catch.
In his next over, Roach brought the England resistance to a close and ended with 2-10 from 9.2 overs when he got Leach caught behind for four on review after the left-hander drove loosely and got a thin edge through to wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva, who was later named Player-of-the-Match.
ENGLAND 204 (Saqib Mahmood 49, Jack Leach 41, Alex Lees 31, Chris Woakes 25, Craig Overton 14; Jayden Seales 3-40, Kyle Mayers 2-13, Alzarri Joseph 2-33, Kemar Roach 2-41) and 120 (Alex Lees 31, Jonny Bairstow 22, Chris Woakes 19; Kyle Mayers 17-9-18-5, Kemar Roach 2-10).
WEST INDIES 297 (Joshua da Silva 100 not out, John Campbell 35, Kyle Mayers 28, Alzarri Joseph 28, Kemar Roach 25 not out, Jermaine Blackwood 18, Kraigg Brathwaite 17, Shamarh Brooks 13, Jayden Seales 13; Chris Woakes 3-59, Saqib Mahmood 2-45, Be Stokes 2-4, Craig Overton 2-81) and 28 without loss (Kraigg Brathwaite 20 not out).