• England sideswiped by Windies tsunami

    No-one saw the West Indies’ massive 381-run win over England in the first Test at Barbados coming, which is a testament to the intrigue and fascination of Test cricket, as well as the fighting spirit of the West Indies side, writes SIMON LEWIS.

    England lost nine wickets for 42 runs in the first innings of the first Test against the West Indies, offering the hosts the tantalising opportunity to enforce the follow-on after they had scored just 289 in their first innings.

    The West Indies’ first innings score was one of the lowest in Test history to offer a captain the option of asking their opponents to follow on, but the West Indies were wise to decide rather to bat again to ensure they didn’t have to chase runs in the fourth innings. The West Indies’ batting has been brittle for many years, so it was far wiser for them to deal with a possible batting collapse in the third innings (when they still had time to recover) rather than trying to fight back from a top order failure when chasing in the fourth innings.

    As it turned out, the West Indies followed England’s disastrous first innings 77 by collapsing to 61-5 on a day that saw 18 wickets tumble. With that collapse happening in the third innings of the match it provided the canvas for Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich to execute their record-breaking undefeated seventh wicket stand of 295.

    Lowest Test scores at Bridgetown, Barbados

    Team Score Overs Opposition Match Date
    England 77 30.2 West Indies 2019
    India 81 35.5 West Indies 1997
    Pakistan 81 34.4 West Indies 2017
    West Indies 93 31.2 Sri Lanka 2018
    New Zealand 94 47.4 West Indies 1985
    West Indies 94 42.1 England 2004
    Australia 97 43.5 West Indies 1984

    The 295 runs added by Holder and Dowrich was the pair’s second 200-plus run partnership, in addition to being the third highest seventh-wicket stand in Tests and the second-highest for the West Indies. Without doubt their partnership was the difference-maker between the teams, and England (ranked No 3 in Test cricket) would have suffered a nasty shock to be downed by the West Indies (ranked as the eighth-best Test side).

    West Indies recent Test series results: Won 6, Lost 14, Drawn 2

    England recent Test series results: Won 12, Lost 7, Drawn 6

    A look at both sides’ records in Test series since 2012 offers all the evidence England would have needed to head into the Test series in confident mood, but the beauty of Test cricket is that a ‘weaker’ team sometimes just has to win a few key sessions to turn the form book on its head.  

    West Indies and England Test series form book

    New Zealand WON 2-0 West Indies WON 2-0
    Bangladesh WON 2-0 South Africa Lost 2-0
    Zimbabwe WON 2-0 India WON 2-1
    India Lost 2-0 New Zealand Drawn 0-0
    New Zealand Lost 2-0 New Zealand WON 2-0
    New Zealand Lost 2-1 Australia WON 3-0
    Bangladesh WON 2-0 Australia Lost 5-0
    South Africa Lost 2-0 Sri Lanka Lost 1-0
    England Drawn 1-1 India WON 3-1
    Australia Lost 2-0 West Indies Drawn 1-1
    Sri Lanka Lost 2-0 New Zealand Drawn 1-1
    Australia Lost 2-0 Australia WON 3-2
    India Lost 2-0 Pakistan Lost 2-0
    Pakistan Lost 2-1 South Africa WON 2-1
    Pakistan Lost 2-1 Sri Lanka WON 2-0
    England Lost 2-1 Pakistan Drawn 2-2
    Zimbabwe WON 1-0 Bangladesh Drawn 1-1
    New Zealand Lost 2-0 India Lost 4-0
    Sri Lanka Drawn 1-1 South Africa WON 3-1
    Bangladesh WON 2-0 West Indies WON 2-1
    India Lost 2-0 Australia Lost 4-0
    Bangladesh Lost 2-0 New Zealand Lost 1-0
    Pakistan Drawn 1-1
    India WON 4-1
    Sri Lanka WON 3-0

    The West Indies have been on a terrible losing streak, which would have dampened their enthusiasm and spirit, but considering the spread of terrific batting and bowling performances from them throughout the side in this Test, one can only hope it will spark a revival of their red-ball fortunes.

    The cricketing world is so much better when the West Indies are playing well and beating top nations, and although the ‘smart money’ might bet on this performance being a one-off, the ‘heart money’ will surely hope it’s the start of great things to come from this exciting group of cricketers.

    England’s lowest Test scores

    Score Opposition Ground Match Date
    45 Australia Sydney 28 Jan 1887
    46 v West Indies Port of Spain 25 Mar 1994
    51 v West Indies Kingston 4 Feb 2009
    52 v Australia The Oval 14 Aug 1948
    53 v Australia Lord’s 16 Jul 1888
    58 v New Zealand Auckland 22 Mar 2018
    61 v Australia Melbourne 5 Mar 1904
    61 v Australia Melbourne 1 Jan 1902
    62 v Australia Lord’s 16 Jul 1888
    64 v New Zealand Wellington 10 Feb 1978
    65 v Australia Sydney 1 Feb 1895
    71 v West Indies Manchester 8 Jul 1976
    72 v Pakistan Abu Dhabi 25 Jan 2012
    72 v Australia Sydney 1 Feb 1895
    75 v Australia Melbourne 29 Dec 1894
    76 v South Africa Leeds 29 Jul 1907
    77 v Australia Lord’s 19 Jun 1997
    77 v Australia The Oval 28 Aug 1882
    77 v West Indies Bridgetown 23 Jan 2019
    77 v Australia Sydney 14 Mar 1885

    Stats: Cricinfo


    Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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    Simon Lewis