We must improve for Ashes, says Anderson
Tons by Brathwaite and Hope put Windies on top England’s attack made to pay for wayward deliveries
James Anderson has warned that England will not win the Ashes this winter unless they become more consistent after a poor day against West Indies here.
West Indies finished the day 75 runs ahead on 329 for five after centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope put them in control of the second Investec Test, just a week after losing 19 wickets in one day to be crushed at Edgbaston.
That was England’s third win in a row and the side had thought they were becoming more consistent after upand-down results over the past few years, but they were bowled out for only 258 here on day one after winning the toss and the bowlers struggled for control as Brathwaite and Hope scored West Indies’ first double hundred stand for nearly four years.
“We didn’t bowl very well. Even on a pitch with life in it, you have to put the ball in the right area,” said Anderson. “We talk about bowling in partnerships but we did not do that much today. There was always a release at the other end. We bowled a lot of bad balls.
“I thought we had got on the right side of being consistent with two wins against South Africa and at Edgbaston. We are still evolving as a side and ironing out those inconsistencies is a big thing for this team going forward. We have a big tour of Australia coming up and we can’t go there and win the series if we are inconsistent.
“They batted brilliantly. They played the conditions very well, going through the tough periods and as the day went on they cashed in. I think our batsmen could have learned from the way they applied themselves. We have just got to look at ourselves. Did we create enough pressure? Did we put enough balls in the right areas?”
This was one of West Indies’ best days overseas, particularly in England, for a long time.
“We have to just keeping working towards more days like these,” said Brathwaite. “We know what we can do and we knew we could do better.
“We wanted to show fight and worked twice as hard. The key is to believe in ourselves. Just believe. It is not impossible.”
Finally West Indian pride was restored with two Bajan batsmen fighting hard to fuel dreams of their side’s first win in England for 17 long years.
Kraigg Brathwaite’s 134 and Shai Hope’s unbeaten 147, his maiden Test century, produced the possibility of one of the great comebacks in Test history as West Indies moved to 329 for five and a first-innings lead of 71.
For nearly six hours – almost the time in which they lost 19 wickets last week – Brathwaite and Hope frustrated England, combining to put on 246 for the fourth wicket, the first double hundred stand by West Indies in Test cricket since December 2013.
For so long this generation have been clobbered by the West Indian old guard. But if they can turn this position into victory the story will change and finally the greats of Caribbean cricket can heap praise on the youngsters.
Brathwaite has Test pedigree with this his sixth hundred and second against England.
But the real encouraging sign for West Indies cricket was the performance of Hope.
This was his first Test hundred in his 12th game as he justified his reputation as one of the bright young talents of West Indies cricket.
He came in at 35 for three, the ball zipping around and James Anderson on a roll. Hope survived the early examination with a bit of luck but, as if he were an old pro who had played at Headingley for years, he cashed in when the sun shone in the afternoon, playing some wonderful drives through the off-side off quicks and spinners alike.
He also survived a tough examination by Ben Stokes, who bounced him in the afternoon, hitting him on the head and trying to ruffle him up with return throws at the stumps. Anderson aside, England struggled. Lengths were often too short, Stuart Broad took most of the day to find his range without holding it for long enough to be threatening and Chris Woakes was excellent before lunch but faded, unsurprisingly, after so long out with a side injury.
In truth England were paying the price for their poor batting on day one. There are only so many times Broad and Anderson can dig them out of trouble. Brathwaite is a Test batsman in a traditional mould. Doughty and patient he nevertheless reached his fifty and century with sixes. The Yorkshire crowd recognise good, hard graft from a batsman when they see it and he was given a standing ovation when he was finally bowled by Broad.
West Indies have only won two away Tests outside Bangladesh and Zimbabwe since their last victory in England in 2000 and one of those, in Sharjah last year, was dominated by a hundred and second-innings fifty by Brathwaite. With no genuine experience in the side, Brathwaite at 24 and playing his 39th Test is their senior batsman and they needed him to show the way after the awfulness of Edgbaston. He owns four racehorses that train back home in Barbados at the Garrison racetrack and he ran a well-paced race here, with his fifty coming off 89 balls, his hundred 189. Brathwaite went to the same school in Barbados as Sir Frank Worrell, and the story of his unusual first name reveals a family steeped in cricket.
His mother wanted a son whose name began with ‘K’. His father’s favourite cricketer was Craig McDermott, hence the compromise, although where the double gee comes from will take further investigation.
The morning started with a horrible grey cloud forming over the ground giving Anderson perfect conditions. Nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo forlornly swished and prodded at Anderson’s away swinger until he finally edged a cut behind.
Kyle Hope was also soon in rough waters against Anderson perplexed by the ball moving both ways before an inswinger was edged to Joe Root at slip, who took a good catch low down.
England were on top. The Test heading in a predictable direction. Broad was struggling to back up his mate Anderson but Woakes was swinging the ball. England were twice denied Brath- waite’s wicket when rightly the decision review system saved the batsman.
On 35 he was given out lbw to Broad but an inside edge was detected by the technology.
On 46 Moeen Ali had Brathwaite given out lbw by the same umpire, Sundaram Ravi, but Hawkeye showed he was hit outside the line of off stump. Next ball Brathwaite dumped Moeen over long on for six to bring up his fifty.
West Indies sensed a change in momentum after lunch. The pitch was still giving the bowlers plenty of help but England were too short and the game went flat for the bowling side.
Stokes tried his best to unsettle Hope, Moeen went round the wicket and Broad had an edge that would have carried to a third slip had there been one.
Brathwaite, though, was unflustered. He moved into the 90s with consecutive fours and wanted his hundred before tea.
Root bringing on Tom Westley to bowl his off-breaks was Brathwaite’s chance. As soon as he bowled a fuller ball, Brathwaite latched on it playing his favourite shot over long on to reach his hundred two balls before the break.
Hope showed no sign of nerves as his first Test hundred loomed. Root brought in the field on 99 but again England were off line, an easy long hop on leg stump allowing Hope to reach his milestone.
The scores were soon level and West Indies were building a lead when Brathwaite was bowled by one that scuttled low.
Roston Chase edged to slip as England sensed a change of fortunes but Jermaine Blackwood has serious talent as a shot player and immediately took the fight to England as he did amid the carnage of Edgbaston.
He thumped four boundaries, including one off the final ball of play which summed up England’s day. Moeen bowled a horrible long hop down leg side which Blackwood hammered to the boundary. West Indies had rolled back the years.
West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite is a batsman in the traditional mode – doughty and patient
Warning: James Anderson believes England must be more consistent to beat Australia
Standing his ground: Shai Hope tormented England’s bowlers, including James Anderson (inset left)