BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies beat England for the first time in six years when they staged a clinical run chase to stun the visitors by five wickets inside three days in the third Test here yesterday, and ensure a share of the three-Test series.
Chasing 192 for victory, the Windies were propelled by a superb top score of 82 from stylish left-hander Darren Bravo, as they reached their target late in the evening to seize their first win over England at Kensington Oval in 25 years.
Bravo anchored a crucial fifth wicket stand of 108 with Man-of-the-Match Jermaine Blackwood who finished on 47 not out and fittingly ended the contest when he lifted off-spinner Moeen Ali over mid-on for his fourth boundary.
The pair came together five minutes after tea when veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul was bowled without scoring, playing on to seamer Jimmy Anderson, to the first ball of the second over after the resumption.
Tentatively poised then at 80 for four, Bravo and Blackwood safely navigated West Indies through the remaining two hours to deny England a series win, and claim only their third victory over their old foes in 16 years.
Bravo faced 148 balls in a shade over 3-1/2 hours at the crease and counted seven fours and three sixes while Blackwood, a right-hander, slammed four fours and a six off 104 balls in just under 2-1/2 hours.
Earlier, West Indies claimed the last five England wickets for 86 runs as England, resuming on 37 for five, failed to put up major lower order resistance.
They were undermined by seamer Jason Holder (3-15) and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul (3-43) who both picked up two wickets apiece to finish with three-wicket hauls.
Pacer Jerome Taylor claimed the other wicket to end with three for 33.
Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler top-scored with 35 not out, Ben Stokes got 32 while Gary Ballance got 23.
Permaul struck nearly half-hour into the morning when he had left-hander Gary Ballance, unbeaten on 12 overnight, caught at slip by Bravo to leave England 62 for six.
Buttler and Stokes put on 33 for the seventh wicket to frustrate West Indies before Permaul claimed Stokes to a catch at extra cover by Chanderpaul, driving.
He faced 48 balls and struck five fours.
Three overs later, Holder struck twice in successive deliveries when he trapped Chris Jordan lbw for two and then removed Stuart Broad’s off-stump.
Tottering on 98 for nine, England garnered precious runs through some hefty blows from Buttler before Holder removed Anderson lbw for two, on review.
West Indies openers Kraigg Brathwaite and debutant Shai Hope then survived the lone over before lunch to reach four without loss at the break, and proceeded to add 35 for the first wicket in a quiet stand.
Brathwaite hit 25 off 36 balls with three fours while Hope managed just nine from 44 balls before perishing 50 minutes after the break, lbw to a full length delivery from Jordan.
Hope reviewed the decision but replays showed the ball smashing into leg stump.
West Indies suffered another blow just moments later in the next over when Brathwaite edged one from Moeen for the excellent Jordan to snare a brilliant one-handed effort at slip.
Marlon Samuels, who made 20, joined Bravo to help post 35 for the third wicket and seemed to be taking West Indies safely to tea when Samuels got one from seamer Broad that nipped back, caught him on the crease, and rattled his stumps in the third over before the break.
Samuels’ dismissal left the game in the balance at tea at 70 for four, with Bravo on 15 and Chanderpaul yet to score.
However, the game tipped England’s way when Chanderpaul sparred at a wide, harmless delivery from Anderson and dragged it on.
Entered Blackwood and as he did in the first innings when he top-scored with 85, proceeded to play an innings of maturity.
Both he and Bravo mixed bouts of aggression with sensible graft, an approach that wore England down slowly and forced captain Alistair to ring the changes.
Bravo cleared the ropes at long-off with part-time off-spinner Joe Root the first ball after tea before caressing him through cover for four. He then paced his innings before raising his half-century and that of the partnership with his fifth four, a square driven boundary off Broad.
With victory in sight, he upped the tempo, smashing Moeen over long on for six and repeating the stroke off the same bowler a couple overs later.
He perished with four runs required for victory, caught by Broad at cover off Stokes, trying to end the game with a boundary.
Blackwood, meanwhile, enjoyed a stroke of luck on four, half-hour after tea, when he charged Root and missed a swing, and was mis-stumped by Buttler. Unfazed, he continued to pick up singles and had faced 43 balls before he struck his first four – a flick to fine leg off Jordan.
He cleared the mid-wicket ropes with Moeen in the next over and continued to play sensibly, as West Indies inched towards victory.
Like Bravo, he raised the intensity a notch with victory looming, coming down and stroking Moeen to the cover boundary before striking the final blow, to seal the result.
The first Test in Antigua finished in a draw while England won the second in Grenada last week by nine wickets.