ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, (CMC) – Opener Kraigg Brathwaite fashioned an outstanding, unbeaten hundred that headlined strong West Indies resistance, shackled England’s zeal and set up a riveting final day of the second Test on Saturday.The 22-year-old, with just 18 Tests and a little over three years of international cricket under his belt, carved out a 101 – his fourth Test century – as West Indies finished Friday’s penultimate day at the Grenada National Stadium on an impressive 202 for two.
Brathwaite, who has faced 230 deliveries and counted 12 fours in just under five hours, was partnered at the close by the experienced Marlon Samuels on 22, with West Indies 37 runs in front with three tricky sessions left on the final day.
The pair have so far put on 57 for the third wicket, a partnership that followed on the heels of a 142-run, second wicket stand between Brathwaite and left-handed Darren Bravo, who gathered an attractive 69.
Both partnerships pulled West Indies around from a dodgy position of three for one in a testing period before lunch, when they lost Devon Smith cheaply for two.
England had earlier garnered a first innings lead of 165 runs, losing their last four wickets for 91 runs to be all out for 464, about 35 minutes before lunch.
They were led by the impressive Joe Root who finished on a magnificent unbeaten 182, an innings that was seven minutes short of 5-1/2 hours, consumed 229 deliveries and included 17 fours and four sixes.
Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo claimed two of the wickets to fall to finish with four for 177 from 51 marathon overs while fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who went wicket-less in the morning session, claimed two for 67.
Resuming the day on 373 for six with Root on 118, England lost wickets steadily. Bishoo struck the first blow in the fourth over or the morning when he deceived Jos Buttler in flight and had the wicketkeeper/batsman stumped for 13, at 387 for seven.
Root added 39 with Barbados-born Chris Jordan who made 16 before being run out, sent back while attempting a second run and just failing to make his ground.
Stuart Broad perished without scoring, gloving a sweep at Bishoo for Smith at slip to run around behind the wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin and claim the lob, and Jimmy Anderson was then run out for two ambling back for a second run.
Anderson then set the Windies back when he had the left-handed Smith bowled in just the third over of the innings, playing-on attempting to leave alone one that swung.
Brathwaite and Bravo carried West Indies to lunch at 22 for one and blossomed afterward, frustrating England’s bowlers and ensuring they went wicket-less during the second session, on a flat track that offered precious little to bowlers.
On resumption after lunch, both batsmen were cautious initially before Brathwaite broke the shackles with two back-to-back boundaries off seamer Ben Stokes.
Bravo followed his cue in the next over, turning pacer Jordan fine for four and another Brathwaite boundary in the following over from Stokes raised the half-century stand.
Brathwaite moved to 47 by spanking Jordan square on the off-side for four and hammered Broad through cover point a couple of overs later to raise yet another Test half-century.
He was unbeaten on 68 at tea with Bravo on 47, and the stylish Bravo soon reached his half-century in the third over after the resumption, with a boundary to third man off part-time off-spinner Root.
However, he perished against the run of play nearly an hour later when he prodded at one from Broad that held its line, and was taken behind.
Bravo batted just over three hours, faced 147 balls and counted 12 fours.
Brathwaite, plodded on unfazed, however, gathering the majority of his runs with wristy cuts in the arc between point and third man. He moved quietly into the 90s but then steered Jordan to third man for his 11th four to move to 97.
He brought up his fourth triple figure score in his last nine Tests when he punched Anderson through cover for a couple, in the penultimate over of the day.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings 299
England 1st Innings
(overnight 373 for six)
*A Cook b Gabriel 76
I Trott c Blackwood b Bishoo 59
G Ballance b Samuels 77
I Bell b Gabriel 1
J Root not out 182
Moeen Ali run out 0
B Stokes c Blackwood b Bishoo 8
+J Buttler st Ramdin b Bishoo 13
C Jordan run out 16
S Broad c Smith b Bishoo 0
J Anderson run out 2
Extras (b9, lb2, w1, nb18) 30
TOTAL (all out, 144.1 overs) 464
Fall of wickets: 1-125 (Trott), 2-159 (Cook), 3-164 (Bell), 4-329 (Ballance), 5-335 (Ali), 6-364 (Stokes), 7-387 (Buttler), 8-426 (Jordan), 9-431 (Broad), 10-464 (Anderson)
Bowling: Roach 28-4-100-0 (nb5), Gabriel 22-3-67-2 (w1, nb6), Holder 21.1-6-57-0 (nb1), Bishoo 51-10-177-4 (nb2), Samuels 21-4-38-1, Blackwood 1-0-14-0.
WEST INDIES 2nd Innings
K Brathwaite not out 101
D Smith b Anderson 2
DM Bravo c wkp Buttler b Broad 69
M Samuels not out 22
Extras (b6, lb1, nb1) 8
TOTAL (2 wkts, 75 overs) 202
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Smith), 2-145 (Bravo).
Bowling: Anderson 14-4-27-1, Broad 10-2-23-1, Moeen Ali 17-4-48-0, Jordan 13-4-41-0 (nb1), Stokes 8-0-34-0, Root 13-6-22-0.
Position: West Indies lead by 37 runs.