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Kraigg Brathwaite keeps England at bay again as the West Indies battle for a draw in Barbados

I’ve been here before. Last week actually.

And if Barbados wasn’t as boring as Antigua, two pudding places were indigestible for those wanting real entertainment.

Brathwaite ensured England could not taste victory in the second Test

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Brathwaite ensured England could not taste victory in the second TestPhoto credit: Reuters
Root failed to break the West Indies' resolve on day five in Barbados

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Root failed to break the West Indies’ resolve on day five in BarbadosPhoto credit: Reuters
England were devastated and had to settle for a draw

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England were devastated and had to settle for a drawPhoto credit: AFP

While Kraigg Brathwaite – again aided and instigated by Jermaine Blackwood – deserved credit for another effort of sheer determination, Groundhog Day wasn’t fun at all.

Brathwaite made a truly remarkable personal effort to ensure his side travel to Grenada for the final Test on an equal footing.

Under pressure, he hit the 65 overs it took to stay England‘s winning attack in check after they declared at 185-6.

Brathwaite broke Brian Laras in the process West Indies Record 582 deliveries in a single Test, in his amazing 400 not against England in 2004.

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In the 15 sessions, the Bajan Windies skipper was on the field for all but 19 overs at his home stadium – at the end of Saturday – adding 160 unbeaten 56 to his first innings and facing 673 balls overall as his side finished on 135 – 5.

As on Friday, when he and Blackwood 173 hung up for the fourth wicket, the duo blocked, blocked and reblocked, taking time and overs out of play.

Even when Jack Leach, who threw 95 overs in the match, knocked out Blackwood, caught by the kneeling Jonny Bairstow – and with six, even seven men around the bat – Brathwaite refused to back down, a triumph of determination.

Leach’s spin yielded three wickets while a double strike from Saqib Mahmood briefly raised hopes of just England’s fourth win in 17 games at the Kensington Oval after they had set a target of 282.

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They got there by adding 144 in 24.5 overs thanks to some lusty willows from Dan Lawrence. Ben Stokes and Bairstow.

All five England wickets fell swinging, the pattern set when Alex Lees potted into deep mid-wicket in the third over of the day with high-flying sixes from Stokes, Lawrence and Bairstow.

Joe roothowever, allowed the innings to continue to meander before eventually calling it a day at lunch.

Possibly a source of regret once any chance of the Windies having an arrow on the unlikely target is quickly gone.

It was Leach’s turn after five overs and with his sixth ball he struck – on the back – when the turn caught Campbell’s glove and thigh pads before being boxed by Lee’s.

Mahmood was next in action, Root running around to happily grab the edge of Shamarh Brooks as Crawley juggled behind him.

And when Root then took a regular catch from the Lancashire seaman to send Nkrumah Bonner back for three, the home side were 39-3 with nearly 53 overs to go.

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Brathwaite and Blackwood, who smashed England into the dust on day three, picked up where they left off after 25 overs.

As hope began to fade, Leach found the edge of Blackwood’s jab, where Bairstow, getting up on his knees in the ravine, caught hold.

Nine runs later, Lawrence threw a deep left to remove Jason Holder for a duck and give Leach his third.

But it wasn’t to be for England, with Joshua Da Silva keeping Brathwaite company until the end.

All to play starting on Thursday. But can we have a proper pitch?

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/18012911/kraigg-brathwaite-england-west-indies-draw/ Kraigg Brathwaite keeps England at bay again as the West Indies battle for a draw in Barbados

Ashley

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