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Cricket-West Indies hold out for test draw as England fall five wickets short

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© Reuters. Cricket – Second Test – West Indies v England – The Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados – March 20, 2022 England’s Dan Lawrence in action Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
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(Reuters) – West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was again a gigantic roadblock that England could not dislodge as the second test ended in a tense draw in Barbados on Sunday.

England declared in enough time to give themselves 65 overs to bowl out West Indies a second time and picked up five wickets inside 45 overs, including three by spinner Jack Leach.

But a singing Barmy Army in typically good voice could not quite inspire the visitors across the finish line as West Indies finished on 135 for five in a match best remembered for the remarkable batting performances by Brathwaite.

After stoically occupying the crease for almost 12 hours in scoring 160 from 489 balls in the first innings, he was there at the bitter end on Sunday, unconquered on 56, having spent all but about one hour on the field over five long days.

A 282-run victory target was never a realistic possibility for West Indies in a contest that followed a remarkably similar trajectory to the first test.

England declared setting West Indies a winning target of 286 from 71 overs in that contest in Antigua which was ultimately drawn, though not before West Indies lost four early wickets which left Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder to hold out for the remaining 36 overs.

Holder could not repeat the feat on Sunday, caught off Leach for a 24-ball duck in the 45th over, at which point the visitors must have fancied their chances.

However, wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva, whose batting average is a respectable 26, proved a good foil for Brathwaite, surviving unbeaten on 30, as Leach and part-time spinner Dan Lawrence could not make another breakthrough.

While Brathwaite continued to defend with the straightest of bats, Da Silva gleefully dispatched bad balls to the boundary as the close-in legside fielders ducked for cover.

Leach finished with 3-36 from 25 overs, while test newcomer Saqib Mahmood got the other two wickets, making it four for the match.

Earlier on Sunday, England declared their second innings at 185 for six at lunch, though commentators were puzzled why they did not make the decision a little earlier, with the target already seemingly well beyond the capabilities of the hosts.

West Indies had trailed by 96 runs after the first innings on Saturday.

The third and final test in series starts in Grenada on Thursday.

Cricket-West Indies hold out for test draw as England fall five wickets short

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