Cricket returned amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with West Indies’ tour of England. While the visitors took the lead in the first test, a win in the second was just the confidence boost that the poms were needing, as they have now levelled the series 1-1 with today’s 113 run victory at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground.
The series started sour for the hosts, as West Indies swept up a 4 wicket victory in the first test. However, England started picking up pace in the second, and were already favourites with an astounding 291 lead at the end of 4th day, and packed West Indies up before touching a double century on the score.
Starting with 37-2 on the scoreboard, the immaculate Ben Stokes went all in with a swashbuckling performance. The 29 year old smashed 78 runs from 57 balls, which included four boundaries and three over boundaries.
While the skipper Joe Root lost his wicket on 22, and Ollie Pope tail ended with a score of 12, the astounding innings from Stokes, who kept his strike till the end, was enough for England to finish the day with 129 runs.
With an staggering target of 312 at hand, Windies openers Kraigg Braithwaite and John Campbell marched to the pitch for the chase. However, the hosts bowling squad, lead by the iconic Stuart Broad, capped the chase at 198.
With three wickets in the second innings, Broad was the hero of the showdown. Bowling 15 overs, the 34 year old pacer picked up three, starting with the early dismissals of Campbell (4), followed by Shai Hope(7) and Roston Chase (6), all with a 2.80 economy rate.
Braithwaite was lbw’ed on Chris Woakes’s delivery on a score of 12, the English all rounder who picked his second with Windies wicket keeper Shane Dorwich on zero.
However, it was the partnership of Sharmarh Brooks and Jermaine Blackwood that helped West Indies gain pace. Brooks, who scored a 62 with four boundaries and two sixes, marched off against Sam Curran. With seven fours, Blackwood also impressed with a 55, until ending up on the hands of Jos Buttler facing Stokes.
The visitor skipper Jason Holder tried to add some breathing room towards the end of the innings. The 28 year old scored 35 runs including five boundaries and a single six, until getting clean bowled by Dom Bess in the 63rd over.
It was only single digit scores from the lower batting order of Windies, as Kemar Roach (5) and Alzarri Joseph (9) lost wickets early against Bess and Stokes respectively. Shannon Gabriel was the last man standing with a duck, as West Indies were packed up on 198 in the 71st over.
Stokes was the hero of the English dressing room. With a stellar batting performance and picking two wickets, the vice captain was termed as the superhero ‘Mr Incredible’ by his teammate Joe Root.
“He’s Mr Incredible. I suppose,” Root said after the match, “I certainly think he can keep performing at this level. I think the sky’s the limit for him really.”