Cricket West Indies (CWI) has lauded the West Indies team on their win over England in the Apex Test Series.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite believes his team is just getting started after clinching a series win against England in Grenada.

Following two draws in the first couple of Tests, a superb performance from the hosts on day three and day four overwhelmed the tourists and led to a 10-wicket victory to take the series 1-0.

England recovered from 90-8 to 204 in the first innings of the third and final Test but were never ahead in the game as Brathwaite's side took a first-innings lead of 93, before bowling England out for just 120 in their second.

That left Brathwaite and opening partner John Campbell to secure victory as they required less than five overs to chase down 28 on Sunday, condemning England to a fifth consecutive series defeat.

England have won just one of their last 17 Tests and are winless in nine red-ball outings, their longest such streak in the format since a run of 10 between August 2013 and July 2014.

The West Indies have still lost only once to England at home in Test cricket since 1968, with that solitary defeat coming in 2004.

"Very proud," Brathwaite said of his players after sealing the win. "My first home series win, so very happy.

"It was a very, very good series for us. In two hard-fought draws in the first two games I thought England played extremely well and we had to show some fight in the last days of both of those games. But coming here, we ramped it up. It's been a remarkable effort."

The 29-year-old had a strong series, top scoring with 341 runs to his name at an average of 85.25.

It was a team effort, though, and notable how several of the younger players stepped up in key moments, with Brathwaite name-checking Joshua Da Silva, who hit a century on day three to rescue his side's innings; Jayden Seales, who took 11 wickets in the series (joint-most with Kemar Roach and England's Jack Leach); and Alzarri Joseph, the taker of 10 wickets.

"I believe this is the start," he said. "But we can't become complacent. We have got to keep learning, keep improving.

"That is one thing with the youngsters in the team – Joshua, Jayden, Alzarri – they are willing to listen. That is the only way to get better. Jason Holder and Kemar Roach and Jermaine Blackwood really leading the way, and the guys learnt a lot on the job.

"I think it's the start and we have to continue to work hard."

It is all to play for at the Grenada National Stadium as West Indies and England go in search of a Test series-clinching victory.

The Windies have dug in for draws under pressure on the final day in Antigua and Barbados.

England are bottom of the World Test Championship table, with the Windies directly above them as both sides strive to transform their fortunes in the longest format.

The tourists look set to be without seamer Ollie Robinson once again as he continues to struggle with fitness issues.

England have not won a Test series in the Caribbean for 18 years, but have undoubtedly made strides during this tour as they battle for the Richards-Botham Trophy.

Yet they are still without a win in eight matches in the longest format and have been unable to show the potency to dismiss West Indies twice when in a great position to take the lead in this series.

Kraigg Brathwaite was the Windies' hero at Kensington Oval, showing incredible application and skill in both innings.

The skipper batted for 710 minutes for his 160 in the first innings and dug in for an unbeaten 56 on the last day in Bridgetown to keep the series level.

England must produce some heat on the Spice Island if they are to head home with a 1-0 victory.

 

Brathwaite and Root leading by example

The Windies were indebted to opener Brathwaite in Barbados as he dropped the anchor in both innings on his home ground.

By facing 673 balls combined in his two obdurate knocks, the skipper set a record for the most deliveries faced by a West Indies batter in a single Test. Brathwaite has the more runs than anyone else in this series, scoring 304 at an average of 101.33.

Prolific England captain Joe Root has also been magnificent, racking up 284 - including two centuries - at an average of 71.


Overton set to return, unchanged squad for Windies

Craig Overton was ruled out of the second Test due to illness, but is set to get another opportunity with Matt Fisher expected to step aside.

Saqib Mahmood should also be unleashed on the Windies again after an excellent opening spell on the final day in Barbados, with spinner Matt Parkinson facing the prospect of missing out again and Robinson not fit.

West Indies named an unchanged squad after frustrating the tourists once again on the final day.

As was the case after the first Test in Antigua, Cricket West Indies selectors have opted to leave the squad unchanged for the third and final Apex Test beginning on Thursday at the Grenada National Stadium.

The three-match Apex Series is level 0-0 following a draws in the first Apex Test match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua and the second Apex Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados, which ended on Sunday.

According to Lead Selector Desmond Haynes, the team showed their fighting spirit in the just-concluded Test in Barbados.

“We were very impressed with the captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, showing the fight in both innings and the way he led from the front with the bat,” Haynes said.

“Also, Jermaine Blackwood, and the way he played in the first innings to get a century. They batted very well together. We really appreciated the fighting spirit from the batting department. We decided to stick with the same squad and want to see them continue to give a big effort in the third Apex Test match.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite was named Player-of-the-Match in the second Apex Test. He scored an outstanding 160 in the first innings – his 10th Test century and his first on home soil, and then 56 not out in the second innings on the final day.

 

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite etched his name into the history books with his batting performance in the recently concluded second Apex Test match against England at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.

In the first innings, Brathwaite struck his 10th Test hundred, a marathon 160 off 489 balls. He followed that up in the second innings with 56 not out off 184 balls to break the record for the most deliveries faced by a West Indian in a Test match with 673.

“I enjoyed it. The pitch at times with the harder ball was difficult but I just decided to stick to my plan which was to play as straight and as late as possible,” he said in his post-match interview.

"I’ve put in a lot of work over the years and to do it at home is a quite pleasing feeling. I’m very happy and thankful,” he added.

Aside from his personal accomplishments, the West Indies captain also praised his players who stood tall in the game, including vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood, who struck 102 in the first innings, his third Test ton.

“I thought it was a tremendous effort. Obviously, Jermaine didn’t get runs in the first game but when we came out, we had the right attitude and just decided we would fight. England bowled extremely well but it was good that a team put up 500 and, for us as a team, we could fight and score 400 and bat 180 overs," Brathwaite said.

"I thought that was a superb effort. That’s the attitude we want and that’s what the fans want to see. Once we continue with that attitude, we’ll continue to do well.”  

Even with his stellar performances at the crease so far in the series, Brathwaite still hopes for a pitch that will better aid his bowlers in the third and final Test in Grenada.

“We’d like to see something in it for the pacers but, in saying that, I thought we put in a very big effort. Obviously, we want a result in the last Test going our way so we have to see what Grenada produces but let’s hope it has something for the pacers,” he said.

The third and final Test bowls off on March 24th at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.

 

 

 

 

England captain Joe Root defended his decision to wait until lunch to declare after Kraigg Brathwaite made history to salvage a draw at Kensington Oval.

Root declared with the tourists 185-5 after batting on during a morning session on day five that included short delays due to rain in Barbados.

The Windies were never likely to chase down a target of 282 to win, but Brathwaite led by example with 56 not out after making 160 in a marathon first innings, to frustrate England with support from Joshua Da Silva (30no) and Jermaine Blackwood (27).

West Indies batted out 65 overs and were 135-5 when Root shook hands with Brathwaite, setting up a series decider in Grenada.

Opener Brathwaite set a record for the most balls faced by a West Indies batsman in a single Test – 673 – on the back of his incredible first-innings vigil.

Jack Leach took 3-26 and debutant Saqib Mahmood 2-21 on the last day as England were unable to force a victory, having also failed to bowl West Indies out on day five in Antigua.

Root had no regrets about not ending England's second innings earlier in the day.

He said in the post-match presentation: "It's always a tricky one. With how small this ground is and how strong the winds are, a couple of overs of someone coming off – you don't want to make it too close."

Root praised spinner Leach, who racked up 94.5 overs in the match on a flat pitch.

"It's really pleasing to see Jack play the way he has. You can see how much he enjoys it out there," Root said. "He's bowling with great control and looks threatening. It's great to see him find his feet and look comfortable at this level."

Marathon man Brathwaite was delighted by the fight his side showed under pressure.

He said: "I thought it was a tremendous effort. England bowled extremely well. It was good as a team we could fight and put 400 back. Fighting at the end, that is the attitude we want."

Brathwaite wants to see a surface in Grenada that will give the Windies paceman more of an opportunity to do damage.

He added: "We put in a very big effort, but we want a result in the last Test. We have to see what they produce [the pitch for the final Test] but let's hope it has something for the pacers."

Kraigg Brathwaite rescued West Indies with a record-breaking innings on his home ground as England again failed to force a final-day victory at Kensington Oval.

Windies captain Brathwaite spent 710 minutes at the crease to hold the tourists up with an excellent 160 in the first innings and he followed that up with a resolute unbeaten 56 in Barbados on Sunday to keep the three-match series level at 0-0.

Joe Root set West Indies 282 to win by declaring on 185-6, but Brathwaite set a record of 673 for the most balls faced by a West Indies player in a single Test as he dug in for a second time.

Brathwaite showed incredible concentration and skill as the Windies frustrated England for the second time in the series to grind out a draw, reaching 135-5 from 65 overs to set up a decider in Grenada.

Jack Leach (3-36) and Saqib Mahmood (2-21) gave the tourists high hopes of forcing a victory, but they were unable to dislodge the rock-solid Brathwaite or Joshua Da Silva (30 not out).

Spinner Veerasammy Permaul (2-29) removed Alex Lees (24) and Joe Root after England resumed on 40 without loss in need of quick runs before declaring.

Rain breaks held the tourists up, but Zak Crawley (40) and Dan Lawrence (41) built the lead, while Ben Stokes made a brisk 18 prior to striking Kemar Roach to Brathwaite at cover, having sent the paceman for a huge six over midwicket.

Jonny Bairstow made 29 off 25 balls, but the runs had dried up for England before the declaration came after more rain brought the players in once again late in the morning session.

Leach got the early breakthrough in his first over, with John Campbell caught by Leeds close to the bat. Mahmood then took centre stage, Root reacting to catch Shamarh Brooks after a Crawley juggling act and the captain held again on at first slip to dismiss Nkrumah Bonner.

West Indies were 65-3 at tea after a stand of 50 between the incredible Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood was ended by Leach, courtesy of Bairstow's catch close in to send the number five packing for 27.

Jason Holder faced 24 balls before departing for a duck, as Lawrence took a great diving catch at cover for Leach, but Brathwaite continued to stand firm with support from Da Silva in an unbroken partnership of 42.

 

Brathwaite shows incredible staying power

Another incredible captain's innings from Brathwaite at the top of the order left England scratching their hands.

The opener made England toil with a marathon 489-ball knock in the first innings and he dug in again when his team needed him on the final day.

Brathwaite's 184 balls faced on Sunday under great pressure moved him beyond the record of 582 that were delivered to Brian Lara, when he made his sensational 400 against England in April 2004.
 

England fall short despite Mahmood burst and Leach marathon

Mahmood led the way for England as he took 2-12 in an impressive opening spell.

Leach also did damage and racked up 94.5 overs in the match, but the spinner could not find a way to dismiss the phenomenal Brathwaite.

England have again put themselves in position to attack West Indies on the final day of a Test after belatedly bringing the hosts' first innings to a close in Barbados.

The tourists were frustrated on day five of the first Test in Antigua when the Windies preserved a draw with six wickets in hand.

But Joe Root's side will get a chance to put that right on Sunday after once more moving slowly in the right direction in the second match.

England closed on 40-0 on day four, 136 ahead and no doubt weighing up how long into the next session they should bat for before pursuing victory.

Root may have to take a risk, given this track has so far favoured the batsmen, with the hosts having resumed on 288-4 in reply to England's 507-9 declared.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite was unbeaten on 109 and continued to frustrate England despite the absence of the sort of long-term partner he had found in Jermaine Blackwood the previous day.

There were still 100-ball stands with Alzarri Joseph (19) and Joshua Da Silva (33) before Brathwaite finally departed to Jack Leach and the new ball for 160, leaving West Indies on 385-7.

That total reached 411 before England were able to bat again, with 15 overs yielding 40 runs for Alex Lees (18 not out) and Zak Crawley (21 no).

Brathwaite bats time

England's first-innings total meant the Windies were never likely to win this second Test. Instead, their aim with the bat was to drag their first innings out as long as possible.

Brathwaite could not have done much more on that front, his marathon stint in the middle using up an incredible 489 balls. He has only once faced more balls across both innings of a Test match, when scoring 126 and 85 against Sri Lanka last year.

Outlasted by Leach

Brathwaite's exhaustion could only be matched by the man who finally took his wicket, as Leach bowled 69.5 overs – again, his second-most in a Test after his 73.4 in the first meeting last week.

Despite those efforts, Leach produced the most economical bowling figures of his career, his 3-118 at a rate of 1.68 as he crucially accounted for three of the four West Indies batsmen to make 30 or more.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite hopes to see a more efficient performance from the bowling line-up as the team eyes pulling ahead of England when the three-match Test series resumes on Monday.

In the opening match, a total of 1,182 runs were scored over five days in a stern examination of bowlers from both teams.  Things did not start out that way, however, as the Windies took four wickets at the top of the first innings only for Jonny Bairstow to lead England’s recovery in the middle overs.

“I think we just have to be a bit more disciplined in the middle periods, probably a little tighter, under three runs an over, I think.  Creating that pressure will help to get more wickets in the middle overs,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Tuesday.

The West Indies will have fond recent memories of facing the English in Barbados having secured a massive 381 run win when the teams last met at the venue in 2019.  Brathwaite was quick to point out, however, that the team would not be preoccupied with history.

 “I think it’s history, to be honest, and we really have to look more to the future and be more disciplined.  I think we can draw from some things we did well, so of the players for sure, but I think we have to buckle down and start fresh.”

Cricket icons Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham unveiled the new Richards-Botham trophy which will be won by the victors in Test Series between West Indies and England Men’s Team.

The trophy pays tribute to two all-time greats – whose rivalry and friendship embodies the close relationship and mutual respect between the two sides. The unveiling ceremony was held on Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua ahead of the first Apex Test match which starts on Tuesday, March 8.

The sparkling new trophy symbolizes “Courage. Friendship. Respect” – values that represent the Test cricketing rivalry between West Indies and England, and of two legends who best define them – Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham.

It has an ultra-modern design and consists of an upside-down cup, based on a Georgian rummer, with the joining sphere a cricket ball. One end is a rummer for drinking rum and the other a wine/ale goblet. The rummer has palm fronds and the ale cup has willow leaves. The ceremonial idea is that the winning team holding the trophy would have the rummer that represents their team face upward while they held it and it would be ceremoniously turned over when the other team wins.

Test matches between these two rivals date back to 1928 when West Indies made their first trip to England. The teams, under the captaincy of Kraigg Brathwaite and Joe Root, will renew the rivalry with the Apex Test Series.

“It’s a truly special feeling to have the fantastic trophy named in honour of my great friend Ian and myself. We played a lot together and built a great friendship on and off the cricket field,” said Sir Vivian. “As I said earlier, I am truly delighted to know that the game that I have shown my love for all my life is naming such a prestigious award in recognition of what I managed to achieve. It’s a beautiful trophy and I want to again thank everyone who came up with this idea and contributed to its creation."

Botham said he was honoured to have a trophy in his name.

“It’s a great idea and a truly lovely trophy. It really stands out and I’m honoured to have my name on the trophy alongside my friend Sir Viv,” he said.

“The captain who picks up the trophy at the end of the upcoming series will be a happy man.”

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite said he was eager to get going on Tuesday in what he expects to be a closely contested series.

“We’re really excited and ready for the upcoming Apex Test Series against England. This is going to be an amazing three weeks of cricket,” Brathwaite said.

“It’s extra special too that we’re playing for the new Richards-Botham trophy, a fitting tribute to these two great men. We want to be the first team to get our hands on it and celebrate with our fans.”

England’s captain Joe Root believes the trophy named in honour of the two greats is a fitting tribute to the rivalry between the two teams.

“Test series between England and West Indies are iconic, and to have a trophy named after arguably the two most outstanding England and West Indies cricketers of all-time in Lord Ian Botham and Sir Vivian Richards is a fitting tribute for this great rivalry. We are enthused about the next month of competition, and we hope to make the England fans proud by lifting the Richards-Botham trophy,” he said.

The Apex Test Series will feature three Test matches. The first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the second Apex Test will be played at Kensington Oval, Barbados from March 16-20, with the climax in the third Apex Test at the Grenada National Stadium, Grenada on March 24-28

West Indies lead selector, Desmond Haynes, insists fixing the squad’s issues at the top of the order will be a priority for the new panel.

The team’s struggles, particularly at the top of the order, have been well documented in recent times.  The issue of finding a consistent partner for team captain Kraigg Brathwaite is one of the primary concerns.

Over the last five years, Brathwaite, who has scored 2188 in 40 matches during that time, has been consistent but it has proven to be somewhat of a carousel in terms of finding an opening pairing with Kieron Powell, John Campbell, and Shai Hope all being trailed for the spot at various times.

In November, Jeremy Solozano was also set to be trialed in the position, against Sri Lanka, but did not get the opportunity after being struck on the helmet while fielding.  Ahead of the England series, Haynes and the selectors have decided to turn back to Campbell who was dropped from the team in June of last year.

The batsman has had a strong start to the West Indies Championship after scoring 213 runs in two matches so far.  Since 2019, Campbell has played 15 matches for the West Indies scoring 640 runs.

“There was good discussion regarding the opening.  That in itself is something we want to resolve shortly.  I think in all the good teams you find they have good opening batsmen so we are hoping to get our opening batsmen some confidence and make sure they can do the job for us,” Haynes told members of the media on Tuesday.

“I think we went with Campbell not just because he got the 100 but talking to the captain and him batting with Campbell in the games that he has played, we had a bit of success there,” he added.

“It was a bit unfortunate for Jeremy but we decided we would put him in the president’s XI’s game where the selectors could have another look at him because it was a bit unfortunate because after being struck on the head he didn’t get a chance to play in Sri Lanka.  

Kraigg Brathwaite scored an unbeaten century and Raymon Reifer took six wickets to lead a Barbados Pride fightback against the Jamaica Scorpions on day two of their West Indies Championships match at Kensington Oval.

Sri Lanka are 46-2 at the end of the third day of the second Test against the West Indies at Galle on Wednesday, still three runs behind the visitors in a match that is delicately poised heading into Thursday’s fourth day.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has admitted it was a tough situation for debutant Jeremy Solozano who was forced out of the opening Test after sustaining an injury.

Solozano, who was expected to partner Brathwaite at the top of the order, had to be stretchered off on the first day of the opening Test after being hit flush on the helmet by a pull shot from Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne.

The young batsman was taken to the hospital for scans and remained overnight for observation, but the tests showed no further damage.  The player will, however, remain on concussion protocol for the next few days.  Solozano was replaced in the line-up by Shai Hope.

“It was a tough situation, but at least we heard he’s doing good, his scans came back good, and we’ll be supporting him 100 percent,” Brathwaite said.

As per CWI’s concussion policy, Solozano is expected to miss a minimum of seven (7) days. During this time, he will be monitored and evaluated before he can return.  The second match between the teams will take place between November 28 and December 3.

 

 

West Indies were in a world of trouble at the end of day two of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle on Monday. Chasing a target of 386, the West Indies slumped to 113-6 at stumps still 273 runs behind on a day that promised much but instead descended into disaster.

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