Moeen makes vital breakthrough but Test remains in the balance

Aug 30, 2017, 01:51
Moeen makes vital breakthrough but Test remains in the balance

Along with fellow Bajan Kraigg Brathwaite's fine batting - he added 95 to his first-innings century - and the evident reawakened spirit in the team, this was an emphatic answer to Windies greats like paceman Curtly Ambrose who had called their Edgbaston performance "pathetic". But as this match has proven, Test cricket is at its most thrilling when it reaches a crescendo.

Even though Blackwood was stumped by Jonny Bairstow off the bowling of Moeen, Hope hit the winning runs the very next over and finished unbeaten on 118 off 211 deliveries, which included 14 boundaries.

The nerveless Shai Hope led them to their target of 322, becoming the first man to score a century in both innings of a first-class match at Headingley.

There seemed little danger of a West Indies win when England captain Joe Root declared his side's second innings on 490 for eight late on Monday's fourth day.

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Coming into the second Test at Headingley, the visitors were under pressure.

Hope and Roston Chase kept the scoreboard ticking with a 49-run stand before Chase was removed by Chris Woakes for 30. "For us, we have 317 runs to make tomorrow and we've still got to believe that we can win the game", he contended.

The pair, who both scored hundreds first time around, again combined superbly, compiling another century partnership to provide the backbone of the Windies' gripping chase of 322 runs to level the three-match series.

Under heavy criticism following a heavy innings defeat inside three days last weekend, the Caribbean side responded strongly by piling up 329 for five in their first innings at the close - a lead of 71 heading into day three today.

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Opener Kraigg Brathwaite had earlier struck a solid 95 after being dropped by Alastair Cook on four.

"Shai Hope played exceptionally well", said Root.

It was yet another drop in this match and although it still yielded a wicket, England would have preferred to see the back of Brathwaite rather than Hope. I'm extremely proud of these guys. Yet his 118 not out on Tuesday, following his first-innings 147, saw the Barbados batsman become the first man to score two hundreds in a first-class match in 127 years of cricket at Headingley. He's been going through a form dip but, hopefully, the pretty 20s are gone and the pretty 120s are here to stay.

'I'm really pleased with the character and fight we showed to get back into a strong position last night but unfortunately it wasn't to be'.

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