Kraigg Brathwaite bats England into the ground with marathon knock to thwart Joe Root’s chances of win vs West Indies

ENGLAND’S shattered bowlers toiled through another mountain of overs as Windies opener Kraigg Brathwaite batted for an incredible 489 balls.

It took a wonder delivery from left-arm spinner Jack Leach finally to dismiss Brathwaite for 160 on day four of the Second Test.

Kraigg Brathwaite batted for 489 balls as England’s bowlers toiled in the Second TestCredit: AP

Just a shame Leach could not produce more fizzers or cause more damage on a pitch that was starting to offer some turn and uneven bounce.

But captain Joe Root will believe that England can build a decent lead, declare and then put the home team under pressure on the final day.

At the close of play, they were 40 without loss – a lead of 136 runs going into day five.

Alex Lees (18) and Zak Crawley (21) provided the base to build from tomorrow.

But it was Brathwaite’s innings, the fourth-longest in terms of deliveries faced by a West Indies batsman in Test history, that was the talking point.

He was patience personified or, if you were feeling less charitable, it was a mega snoozefest. But nobody could doubt his concentration and determination.

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Brathwaite bats with a picture of his late grandparents pinned to his chest and there’s no doubt England’s bowlers must feel like they have aged several years in his series.

They struggled to make inroads in the First Test in Antigua and it has been the same story in Barbados.

The famous Kensington Oval ground – scene of some of the great fast bowling performances – is a turgid track these days.

Stuart Broad and James Anderson were angry at being axed for this tour but maybe they are enjoying a quiet chuckle at missing such flat pitches.

Broad certainly wore a big smile as he posted a picture on social media yesterday cuddling his dog!

Anderson, meanwhile, insists he believes he has an international future at the age of 39.

He told the No Passion, No Point podcast: “Whether I play for England this year or not, it’s a great opportunity to go back to Lancashire and play for them.

“I’ve got hunger and passion to play for Lancashire and hopefully that will take me on to England later in the summer. As long as I feel I can compete at the top level, then I want to do that.”

England’s bowlers were able to claim a third new ball, which was available after 160 overs. But still the Windies innings continued as they plodded along at fewer than two runs-an-over on day four.

Leach sent down more overs than any England bowler this century in a Test match. He offered decent control but should have been more threatening.

After a shower delayed the start by 15 minutes, England’s only success before lunch was Dan Lawrence’s sharp catch in the gully to remove nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph.

In the opening over after the interval, Jason Holder had a curious rush of blood – totally out of context with the rest of the Windies’ batting – and tried to hoist Saqib Mahmood into the crowd.

But Holder succeeded only in skying a catch to mid-on, where Matt Fisher held onto a ball swirling in the wind.

Brathwaite scored 160 on day four for the West Indies

Brathwaite scored 160 on day four for the West IndiesCredit: AP

Jack Leach celebrates claiming the wicket of Brathwaite

Jack Leach celebrates claiming the wicket of BrathwaiteCredit: Reuters

It was Mahmood’s first Test wicket – the day after he was deprived of a wicket when overstepped for a no-ball as he bowled Jermaine Blackwood.

Brathwaite’s remarkable marathon effort finally ended courtesy of Leach’s magical delivery that pitched on leg stump, turned and struck the top of off.

Chris Woakes took his first wicket of the match when he pinned Kemar Roach lbw and Mahmood collected another victim when Veerasammy Permaul was also leg before.


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