So England finally pulled one back by winning the third and final Test against the West Indies by 232 runs. Call it salvaging their pride, a consolation win or a booby prize at least they did not lose the series 2-0 or 3-0 and a 2-1 defeat sounds relatively better. It still constitutes an upset result as it should when a team ranked No 3 loses to a team ranked No 8. England have subsequently slipped to No 5 following the loss in the Caribbean even as West Indies remain at No 8.
Even now when one looks at the team personnel it is hard to accept that England went down in the contest. On paper they had the stronger batting line-up, the more incisive bowling attack and vastly more experience. The difference was that they did not live upto their exalted status while the West Indians played above their potential. How much Jason Holder was responsible for their success can be gauged by the one simple fact that he was not around for the third Test due to his suspension and England emerged victorious.
There little doubt that Holder is the kind of captain who can steer the West Indies to greater deeds. He is a born leader and the main credit for the West Indian performance should go to him. Actually the West Indies are in the process of building a very good team and one can only see them go now from strength to strength. Whether it can lead to a full resurgence in West Indian cricket is a moot point but clearly the victory against England is not going to be a one off and opponents will now be wary of them.
For England disappointing as the result must be they can take the confidence of the victory in the final Test to their next big assignment – the Ashes campaign in England. They have weaknesses particularly in the batting and it was this department that let them down against the West Indies even as the bowling remain strong. England can also take heart from the fact that the last Ashes series they lost in England was way back in 2001. But Australia with Steve Smith and David Warner back will be formidable opposition. However that’s in the future. For the moment England will have mixed emotions at the end of the Test series in the Caribbean.