For the sheer joy and excitement they gave us during their halcyon days of the past it is great to see the West Indies winning a Test particularly during these tough times when they have slipped badly particularly in the game’s traditional format. To defeat England by as large a margin as 381 runs must be one of the most incredible results in recent times. On the face of it a Test between the No 3 ranked England and the No 8 ranked West Indies should be a no contest even if it is played in the Caribbean. It was indeed a no contest but not in the manner expected.
It is a fact that England have not won a Test series in the West Indies since 2004, the two visits since then producing a win for the home team in 2009 and a drawn series the last time they played in 2015. But on current form England were clear favourites and full credit to Jason Holder and his men for an emphatic victory. They were a revelation in both the batting and bowling and this is one match in which the scoreboard conveys pretty much the full story of how the home team completely outplayed the visitors.
The West Indies virtually had the match sewn up by the second day when England were shot out for 77 but the manner in which they ruthlessly consolidated their position brought back memories of their heyday. With a deficit of 212 runs England were virtually out of the match and a second innings total of around 200 could have shut the visitors out of the match. But the unbeaten 295 run seventh wicket partnership between Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich put the home team on their way to a crushing victory margin which they duly completed with a day to spare.
The coup de grace was provided by Roston Chase and in a match of several unexpected happenings his success was perhaps the most unexpected. Thanks to the good work done by the pacemen Chase didn’t even get to bowl in the first innings. Before he came on to bowl in the second innings Chase had taken 42 wickets in 26 Tests at an average of almost 48 with one five wicket haul. But the off spinner gave those figures a big tweak with a capture of eight for 60.
Yes, the West Indies have only won the battle and not the war for two Tests still remain to be played. But the result at Bridgetown has already generated considerable interest in the series. And if the West Indies can kick start a comeback with this win it would be great news for world cricket.