A maiden test century by Joshua da Silva and another England collapse contrived to put West Indies on the brink of winning the series-deciding third test on Saturday.
England led by only 10 runs with just two wickets in hand in its second innings, and still two days to play.
The English barely avoided losing on day three when they crawled to stumps on 103-8. Their failure to win a test series in the Caribbean in 18 years was set to be extended.
Meanwhile, West Indies was looking at a first test series win at home since 2019, when England last visited.
The team’s chief destroyer was batting allrounder Kyle Mayers who bowls medium pace. Unwanted for the first two tests — both draws — he replaced spinner Veerasammy Permaul in Grenada to shore up the batting. But his disciplined and relentless length proved too much for England.
Mayers had an incredible 5-9 from 13 overs, a maiden five-for.
That followed Da Silva’s equally remarkable unbeaten 100 in the morning that gave West Indies an intimidating 93-run lead on the first innings.
After England’s bowlers were tormented all morning while trying to wrench out West Indies’ last two wickets, the visitors feebly gave up their own wickets in all too familiar haste.
Starting its second innings from lunch, England was 43-4 by tea — captain Joe Root out again to Mayers — and six down by the time it knocked off the 93-run deficit.
By stumps, England lost another two wickets, including opener Alex Lees on 31 after a marathon 132 balls and 47 overs. Mayers ripped out his off stump.
All the West Indies bowlers were superb. Jason Holder conceded six runs in eight overs, and Kemar Roach eight in eight. Jayden Seales and Alzarri Joseph had one cheap wicket each.
West Indies started the day with its noses in front by 28 runs with two wickets in hand.
Roach, the No. 10 batter on 25 overnight, didn’t add to his score as the new ball still had some bite.
Da Silva resumed on 55 and overturned being given out on 65. His right index finger was smashed by a 133-kph ball delivered by Chris Woakes but after brief treatment he continued. While he took 247 balls to reach 90, he didn’t linger. Eight balls later he got to his hundred after hitting consecutive boundaries. He screamed in delight.
The next ball, he was caught behind and began walking off. Da Silva reviewed anyway and no touch was found, so he returned to the crease.
Seales, who’d supported Da Silva for nearly two hours, was last man out, caught and bowled by Root.
Root was a big part of England’s top order collapse, giving Mayers a thick edge to slips on 5. Mayers also got him caught behind for a duck in the first innings.
Zac Crawley also gave a catch to the slips, Dan Lawrence was bowled by Mayers without playing a shot, and Ben Stokes was out to Mayers after pulling his bat away but not fast enough.
Mayers had 3-7 off seven overs and England was 39-4.
After tea, Jonny Bairstow edged behind, Ben Foakes was run out trying for a risky second, and Lees and Craig Overton fell to Mayers.
Woakes and Jack Leach held off the West Indies to stumps to force a fourth day’s play.