West Indies chased down 322 on the final day for a remarkable victory against all expectations in the second test against England on Tuesday.
Shai Hope carried West Indies home at Headingley with a personal milestone as he became the first man in more than 500 first-class games at the Leeds ground to make a century in both innings.
He was 118 not out in the second innings as West Indies made 322-5, winning by five wickets at the very end of the final session of the match when all three results were still possible.
“Someone had to do it so I just put my hand up and did it for the team,” Hope said.
Having made 147 for a maiden test century in the first innings, Hope doubled up with his unbeaten ton in the second, the first time that’s happened in 127 years of first-class cricket at Headingley. His second-innings century came under extreme pressure, too. He arrived with West Indies 53-2, teetering, and facing defeat.
“On the fifth day, against high-quality bowling on a used wicket. Great knock,” said England captain Joe Root.
Jermaine Blackwood helped Hope take West Indies to victory with a breezy 41 off 45 balls at the end and opener Kraigg Brathwaite did much of the tough early work against the new ball for his 95.
Hope and Brathwaite both made centuries in the first innings of 427 to give the West Indies the early advantage in an enthralling test. England surrendered a big first-innings lead – out for 258 – only to make enough runs in its second innings to declare on 490-8.
England planned to be pushing for victory on the final day but three dropped catches at the end of a test which had a series of missed chances hurt the home team. Former skipper Alastair Cook put Brathwaite down at first slip when the opener was on just 4. Brathwaite survived a second chance, too, on his way to setting up West Indies’ thrilling chase.
Cook again missed another one at slip near the end, this time with Hope on 106 and England hoping to apply some final pressure with West Indies still needing 37 to win in the gloom of the early evening.
Hope, who batted for more than five hours, ensured West Indies came through with an innings of grit and composure to seal a test that signaled a big future for the 23-year-old. West Indies last won a test in England 17 years ago, but more than just ending that dire run in England, this was one of the team’s most memorable triumphs anywhere.
It was an astonishing turnaround after West Indies lost the first test by an innings and 209 runs inside three days. In that humiliation at Edgbaston, the tourists lost 19 wickets in a day. The young West Indies team was fiercely criticized for its capitulation in the first test and wasn’t given a hope at Headingley.
“What a five days. After getting the kicking we did at Edgbaston, to get the boys back up to achieve what they’ve done these last five days, it’s a great effort,” said West Indies coach Stuart Law.
“I think it’s put a lot of doubters out there to bed.”
The West Indians got 317 of the 322 runs they needed on the final day. They also made the second-highest fourth-innings total ever at Headingley to win a test.
Illustrating the scale of the achievement, only Don Bradman’s Australia team in 1948 – a team known as ‘The Invincibles’ – have made more runs in the fourth innings to win a test in Leeds.
The West Indians’ victory levelled the series at 1-1 and gives them a chance of a series win no one expected outside the West Indies camp.
England, with the series-decider at Lord’s now its last test before the far tougher Ashes in Australia at the end of the year, must respond like it did against South Africa earlier in the summer. Then, England came back from a big disappointment in the second test to win that series convincingly.