Joe Root praised his England team for their performance in a first Test draw with West Indies following a "difficult year".

Captain Root has led England into this series alongside stand-in coach Paul Collingwood after the ECB made widespread changes in response to a dismal Ashes tour.

England had issues throughout their line-up in Australia, and the decision to respond by leaving both Stuart Broad and James Anderson at home for this series was not a popular one.

Fellow bowler Mark Wood was lost to an injury for which he is being assessed in the first Test, too, but England remained the most likely winners in Antigua.

Helped by Root's 109 in a second-innings 349-6 declared, England gave themselves two sessions to bowl out West Indies and threatened to do so when Jack Leach took three wickets in a strong spell.

It was not to be, as West Indies finished on 147-4 – some way short of a target of 286 but not at real risk of defeat.

The post-match outlook from Root was a positive one, however.

"I'm really pleased with the way we played, especially given the position we were in after that first hour," said Root, referring to an alarming first day when England slumped to 48-4 prior to Jonny Bairstow's vital 140.

"The guys stayed calm and showed great maturity to get us to a total, especially off the back of a difficult winter and a difficult year where we've not scored anywhere near enough runs."

Lauding his bowlers, too, Root added: "The way the guys stuck at it, especially having one bowler down as well, showed a huge amount of character and it was a huge step forward in many respects.

"No-one stopped believing or gave up all day. We really did give ourselves the best chance of winning this game."

West Indies great Carlos Brathwaite was not happy with England's tactics after Joe Root waited until there were just five balls remaining before conceding the draw.

After falling to 67-4, West Indies duo Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder shut up shop, surviving for a combined 239 deliveries as Jack Leach (3-57) and Ben Stokes (1-24) searched for a miracle.

As the day's remaining overs dwindled, England showed no desire to call it early, drawing criticism from Brathwaite as he spoke about the lack of respect shown by the visitors.

"In my opinion [the match] did [go too long]," Brathwaite told BT Sport. 

"If I were Kraigg Brathwaite, or any of the senior players in our dressing room, I would have found it a bit disrespectful that in the last hour.

"With two set batsmen batting the way that they were, the pitch offering nothing, that England still felt as though they could get six wickets in 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four [overs]... up until five balls left."

Braithwaite went on to say that he feels England would not have handled the situation the same way against more high-profile Test outfits.

"If you want to become a top team, you have to think like a top team," he added. "West Indies may not be there yet, but the mentality has to be. 

"Would England have done that if it were an Ashes Test? Would they have done that against New Zealand, India, Pakistan? I think the answer is no. So why have they done it against us?

"If [West Indies] need any sort of steely determination added, I think that passage of play should have given them it. We are a better team than we're given credit for – this passage of play proves it, and now we have two Test matches to prove we are better than England think we are."

 

 

 

Defiant second innings batting from man-of-the-match Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder helped the West Indies salvage a draw on day five of the first Apex Test match against England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Saturday.

England’s unbeaten pair of captain Joe Root (84) and Zak Crawley (117) started the day attempting to add on to England’s overnight 217-1 and eventually got to 225 before Crawley became the first scalp of the day, falling to Holder for 121.

Root carried on and brought up his 24th Test match hundred, the second-most by an Englishman only behind former skipper Alastair Cook’s 33.

Dan Lawrence, who joined Root after Crawley’s dismissal, made a breezy 37 before he was removed by Alzarri Joseph to leave England 295-3 off 78.3 overs.

With a declaration looming, England’s batsmen tried to step up their scoring rate but kept losing wickets quickly, including Root for 109 and Ben Stokes for 13.

Joseph finished with 3-78 off 23.2 overs while Kemar Roach picked up 2-53 off 19 overs.

They eventually declared on 349-6, leaving the West Indies needing 286 for victory.

The West Indies started their pursuit just before lunch, eventually reaching 4-0 at the break.

After lunch, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell continued their fruitful partnership at the top of the order with a second 50 partnership of the match.

They got to 59-0 before Brathwaite was trapped in front by Stokes for 33. Campbell was then dismissed in the next over by Jack Leach for 22 to leave the hosts in a spot of bother at 59-2.

Shamarh Brooks (5) and Jermaine Blackwood (2) then quickly became Leach’s next two victims to leave the West Indies struggling at 67-4 in the 35th over.

Thankfully for the West Indies, Bonner (38) and Holder (37) safely negotiated the final 36.3 overs to lead the West Indies to 147-4 off 70.1 overs.

Jack Leach was the pick of the England bowlers with 3-57 off 30.1 overs.

Final Scores: England 311 and 349-6 declared, West Indies 375 and 147-4.

The second test gets underway on March 16th in Barbados.

 

 

West Indies Women captain Stafanie Taylor insists she is not overly perturbed by her recent struggles to find form at the ongoing ICC Women’s World Cup.

The all-rounder, who has third-most runs in the history of women’s One Day International (ODI) cricket, has found scoring to be a scarce commodity at the tournament so far. 

In three matches to date, Taylor has managed just 31 runs for an average of 10.33 well below her overall tournament average of 37.  With those figures in mind, it's hardly a surprise that the player has hardly managed to spend any time at the crease.  In total, Taylor has been at the crease for just 1 hour and 11 minutes, the fifth most in the batting order.

“It’s not something that I’m worried about, yes, my form is a bit down.  But I think it happens to the best of players,” Taylor told members of the media on Saturday.

“For me, it's about going back to have a look at some footage and keep reminding myself that I am good enough to get out of any rut.  Right now, I’m just trying to stay positive because the team is doing well.  Today was probably just one of those days but I’m just trying not to pressure myself too much because I don’t have the form that I would like,” she added.

Taylor’s best performance came against New Zealand where she scored 30 runs from 47 balls.  The West Indies Women will next be in action against Australia on Monday.

Brilliant centuries from Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur fueled India Women to a massive win over West Indies Women at the ICC Women’s World Cup on Saturday.

The loss was the first for the Caribbean team who began the tournament with wins over New Zealand and England.  The powerful combination of Mandhana and Kaur, however, typified an attacking India and set the Windies a daunting 318 for a third straight win, which would always have been a difficult scenario.

In pursuit, the West Indies did, however, get off to a flyer with opener Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews smashing the India bowlers around the ground.  Suffering from back issues Dottin was particularly aggressive as she looked to deal in boundaries to avoid scampering between the wickets.  In fact, the all-rounder reached her fifty in just 35 balls and the Windies were 81 without loss at the end of the Powerplay.

Spinner Sneh Rana, however, eventually got the breakthrough as Dottin's miscalculated sweep attempt was caught.  Facing the massive target, wickets continued to tumble for the West Indies with Meghna Singh joining Rana in the attack to pick up the wickets of Kycia Knight and Stafanie Taylor.  Rana then dismissed Matthews.

With the required run-rate around seven, the pressure of run-scoring got to the rest of the Windies batting line-up, which saw the team bundled out for just 162, still 156 runs short.

Earlier Mandhana smashed 123 from 119 balls and Harmanpreet contributed 109 from just 107 deliveries.  Their partnership was the highest by any Indian duo at a Women's Cricket World Cup, beating Thirush Kamini and Punam Raut's 175-run opening stand against the West Indies at the 2013 edition of the tournament.

West Indies pace bowler Shakera Selman has hailed the growth of all-rounder Deandra Dottin and the prominent role she continues to play not just on the pitch but increasingly these days also off it.

With three One Day International 100s to her name, the 30-year-old has been undoubtedly been one of the team’s most influential players since making her debut in 2008.  On the back of recent performances, which were critical in the team’s wins over New Zealand and then England, it is clear that that much hasn’t changed.  But at least some things have

According to Selman, in addition to her on-field heroics, Dottin, like so many great players, has matured not just into the role of serving as a role model for the next generation, but also in terms of imparting tactical know-how whenever possible.

“Deandra has grown tremendously as a leader over the past few years.  She was the vice-captain when we were back in England in 2020 and I think given that responsibility she has grown tremendously,” Selman told members of the media on Friday.

“We’ve seen helping a lot with the youngsters, she is a bit aggressive and that helps in the field, helps as a batter.  She is always offering advice to all the youngsters, even the senior players.  Now she is in conversation with Stafanie Taylor on the field when we are trying to make crucial decisions,” she added.

Dottin and the West Indies will look for a third straight win in a row when they take on India on Friday night at 8:00 pm.   

 

Zak Crawley and Joe Root put on a 193-run stand for the second wicket in England's second innings to boost their hopes of victory in the first Test against West Indies – at least until the weather intervened.

Day four could have been a tricky one for the tourists in Antigua, with any rush of early wickets potentially handing West Indies a clear sight of an opening win.

After Jack Leach concluded the hosts' innings on 375 by taking the wicket of Jayden Seales with the third ball of the day, Crawley, who went on to reach 117 not out, required a review in the first over to overturn an lbw decision.

Fellow opener Alex Lees was not so fortunate, departing for six to Kemar Roach to reduce England to 24-1, still 40 runs behind their opponents.

Yet that brought Root out alongside Crawley, and the captain made an unbeaten 84 in an outstanding partnership that altered England's outlook considerably.

A short rain delay with Crawley on 49 might have ramped up the nerves, but he returned to pass 50 and continue on into three figures, scoring his second Test century.

Root was well on course to follow Crawley when the weather halted England again, with play eventually abandoned for the day after discussions between the umpires and the captains.

Root willing to take a risk?

England are 153 runs ahead on 217-1, in a great position to accelerate their scoring and attempt to win this match rather than settle for a draw. But the early finish on Friday meant their lead was not larger, making any call to go on the offensive a gamble as West Indies could yet themselves excel with the bat.

In the first match of the series, skipper Root may well take the more measured approach – particularly with his bowlers toiling in the first innings.

Crawley knock critical

That Root might have such a dilemma owes a great deal to Crawley, who put a disappointing first-innings score of eight behind him in some style. Had he departed early again, as he might have when a review was required, England would likely have faced a long day looking to protect hopes of a draw.

Crawley's unbeaten 200-ball knock, his score boosted by 16 fours, instead gave the tourists hope of a first away victory in nine Tests.

A tough day in the field for England ended on a positive note with the dismissal of Nkrumah Bonner, but only after his career-best 123 had given West Indies the lead in the first Test.

Day three in Antigua represented something of a slog, although Bonner could reflect fondly on a job well done with the Windies reaching stumps at 373-9 – enough for a 62-run lead.

The number four batsman almost battled out the day, having resumed alongside Jason Holder in a partnership that ended on 79 when Ben Stokes brilliantly removed the former captain for 45.

That was not a sign of things to come for England, however, as they struggled to follow one wicket with another and Bonner formed another impressive stand with Joshua Da Silva (32) for 73 runs.

Jack Leach's wicket of Da Silva looked like being a big one when Alzarri Joseph quickly followed to Craig Overton, but Bonner again found team-mates willing to dig in with him.

His ton came up with Kemar Roach (15) at the other end, with Veerasammy Permaul (26 not out) the next in.

Finally, with stumps nearing, Dan Lawrence was convinced his delivery to Bonner earned a nick on the way through to Ben Foakes, and UltraEdge confirmed the slightest of touches to finally conclude a marathon innings from the batsman.

Best yet from Bonner

This 123 surpassed Bonner's previous Test high of 113 against Sri Lanka last year and was significantly more taxing than that unbeaten score. Indeed, after only one innings, Bonner has already faced more balls in this Test (355) than any other previously in his career.

He had the patience required to chip away at England's bowlers and found enough support from elsewhere, too, as four of his final five partnerships lasted more than 160 balls.

Wood woe on tough day

England limited West Indies to 1.90 runs per over on day three but celebrated only five wickets. It would have been a draining day even with a full complement of bowlers.

As it was, having already left Stuart Broad and James Anderson at home, England lost Mark Wood to injury. He did not bowl a single ball after lunch and his contribution was badly missed.

West Indies Women head coach Courtney Walsh insists he has been satisfied with the team’s overall performance at the ICC World Cup so far but admits they are yet to put together the perfect game.

The Windies Women have started their campaign in New Zealand in spectacular fashion with a narrow win over the hosts, followed up by a similar triumph against defending champions England.

The performances have, however, been far from spotless.  The Windies are arguably yet to see the best of stars Stafanie Taylor or Deandra Dottin with the bat and their performances in the field have vacillated between exceptional and middling.  Ahead of the team’s encounter against India at 8:00 pm, tomorrow Walsh admits a bigger margin of victory would be welcome, but it’s the team’s fighting spirit that has in his mind been the positive feature so far.

“It’s good to be winning these close games but I think the fighting spirit the ladies have been showing is what has been the most encouraging,” Walsh told members of the media on Wednesday.

“In two close games, you have to be proud of how the ladies have performed.  The beauty about it is that everyone has chipped in so far in the two games,” he added.

After two matches the Windies Women are in third position behind Australia and New Zealand, with only the top four teams advancing to the semi-finals.

“I’m very happy that we’ve had the results that we want in the first two games.  I’m hoping that it can continue for the rest of the tournament.  So, I’m really happy with how the ladies are playing, everybody has played a part in the team process, good batting, good bowling, good catching.  It’s not the perfect game as yet we still have areas to improve upon.”

Mark Wood felt England's bowlers tried a little too hard as they struggled to break down West Indies on day two of the first Test in Antigua.

England lost their final four wickets in relatively short order, though Jonny Bairstow reached 140 to take them past 300 for the first time since August 2021, and were then put on the backfoot by the hosts.

Kraigg Brathwaite (55) and John Campbell (35) put on 83 for the first wicket before England fought back to reduce the Windies to 127-4.

But, on a day truncated by rain, Jason Holder (43 not out) and Nkrumah Bonner (34 not out) reached stumps having put on an unbroken stand of 75 to push the Windies to 202-4, a deficit of 109 runs.

Bemoaning England's inability to make earlier inroads, Wood told Sky Sports News: "I don't think it's about being patient.

"We set higher standards than just being patient - we're out here to win and to play for England. If we're expecting in five or six Test matches' time that will be the answer, it won't.

"As can happen with any bowler, we just didn't get it right at the start and maybe we tried a bit too hard.

"With the void of [Jimmy] Anderson and [Stuart] Broad, maybe we wanted to try a bit hard and prove we can do it as a group.

"Maybe that was it, but I just don't think we started well and the way we came back I think showed good character as a group.

"We fielded well, we had good intensity there, so there were bits of play where I think we did really well.

"It's obviously going to be talked about, Anderson and Broad, because they are legends, but we just have to admit we didn't get it right to start with and we'll be out to get it right next time."

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite and former skipper Jason Holder put them in a strong position to claim a first-innings lead in the first Test with England.

After finally dislodging the determined Jonny Bairstow and bowling England out for 311 on day two, the Windies risked wasting a strong start to their first innings.

Brathwaite (55) and John Campbell (35) put on 83 for the first wicket but the Windies subsequently slumped to 127-4 as England made belated inroads.

Yet the tourists' attack was frustrated by Holder and Nkrumah Bonner, who reached stumps after a final session truncated by rain having put on an unbroken stand of 75 to push the Windies to 202-4, a deficit of 109 runs.

England added 43 runs to their overnight score, their feat of surpassing 300 one that has all been too rarely achieved by Joe Root's team in recent times.

Frequently frustrated as England's day-one resistance stiffened, fast bowler Jayden Seales ended Bairstow's partnership with Chris Woakes (28) at 71, and it was he and Alzarri Joseph who polished off the tail, the latter dismissing Bairstow for 140 to bring the innings to a close.

Brathwaite quickly set about laying the foundation for a strong Windies reply, his 50 coming off just 62 balls before he chased a wide one from Mark Wood and was caught at gully by Craig Overton, who earlier had Campbell caught behind.

Shamarh Brooks (18) and Jermaine Blackwood (11) each went cheaply, however, Bonner and the ex-captain left England searching for answers when stumps were forced to be called by the inclement weather, the defiant all-rounder Holder seven runs shy of a 12th Test half-century.

England back in 300 club

Thanks to Bairstow's outstanding performance, England got to 300 for the first time since their win over India at Headingley in August last year. It is a drought Root and Co. will be eager to put behind them by producing more assured performances with the bat in 2022.

Holder in ominous form

Two of Holder's three Test centuries have come against England. His ability to convert a start in this contest into another hundred may play a large role in deciding who prevails in Antigua.

Veteran West Indies Women’s spinner and vice-captain Anisa Mohammed has hailed the match-changing impact of all-rounder Deandra Dottin on the back of the team’s second straight win at the ICC Women’s World Cup.

By her normal standards, Dottin has had an average start to the tournament with the bat, scoring just 43 in two matches.  An abundance of caution in regard to a recent shoulder injury also means the player has not bowled a lot of overs either.  Despite that, however, Dottin has a knack for showing up when her team needs her.

On Wednesday, with England off to a solid start in pursuit of a below-par West Indies score of 225 for 6, Dottin flew high, at full stretch and with one hand, to pluck a hard cut shot from opener Laura Winfield-Hill out of the sky and give the team a crucial breakthrough.

In the team’s first match, against New Zealand, with the hosts needing just six in the last over Dottin, who had not bowled for the whole match, demanded the ball and promptly took two wickets and effected a run out to secure a dramatic win for the team.

“Deandra is one of the persons that set a high standard for herself in whatever aspect of the game she plays…I think that was a crucial moment in the game,” Mohammed told members of the media.

“Deandra is a game-changer, whether it is with bat or ball or in the field.  It was a spectacular catch and I know we can expect more from Deandra.”

A cracking half-century from Shemaine Campbelle and a decisive late-match spell from experienced spinner Anisa Mohammed propelled the West Indies Women to a narrow 7-run win over England and a second straight win at the ICC Women’s World Cup.

In a game that featured several swings in momentum, England seemed on course for victory after Sophie Ecclestone and Kate Cross combined to put on 61 for the ninth wicket.

In the last three overs, England needed just nine runs for victory and still had two wickets in hand.  In the 48th over Eccelstone went after Mohammed who missed a return catch but inadvertently run out Cross at the non-striker's end.  The experienced Anya Shrubsole was then bowled by the spinner to leave England all out on 218 and set off jubilant celebrations.

In their turn at the crease, the West Indies were off to an excellent start and seemed set for a big target with openers Hayley Matthews (45) and Deandra Dottin (31) putting 81 on the board, with 58 of those runs coming during the opening powerplay.

England spinner Ecclestone, however, was introduced into the attack with great effect and turned the match on its head during an eventful 21st over as the West Indies lost three wickets in five deliveries.

Matthews was the first to go after edging Ecclestone to Anya Shrubsole and Dottin was run out three balls later, courtesy of some excellent fielding from the experienced Danni Wyatt.

The West Indies then lost skipper Stafanie Taylor first ball as Ecclestone gave England the ascendancy, but Campbelle and Chedean Nation (49*) launched a furious fightback with an impressive 123-run stand for the fifth wicket.  

Campbelle eventually fell to Nat Sciver in the penultimate over, but the West Indies had recovered sufficiently from a mid-innings collapse eventually ending with a score of 225 for 6.  Ecclestone ended with figures of 3 for 20.

The win moved the Caribbean team up to second in the table, while England will have plenty of work to do if they are to repeat their 2017 heroics.

 

Jonny Bairstow scored a fine century to lift England on day one of the first Test with West Indies.

Having won the toss and elected to bat in Antigua, it looked like being an all too familiar tale for a frequently fragile England line-up.

The tourists' top order collapsed to leave England 48-4 inside 16 overs, however, Bairstow (109 not out) led the rebuilding effort to ensure they got valuable first-innings runs on the board.

It was his eighth century in the longest format and first against the Windies, his success in surviving the first 10 overs with the second new ball meaning England are well placed to put themselves in an even more favourable position on day two after reaching 268-6 at stumps.

Such a scenario appeared unlikely when Kemar Roach quickly removed debutant Alex Lees (4) and opening partner Zak Crawley (8) was caught behind off Jayden Seales.

England looked in dire straits after Joe Root (13) was caught in two minds and bowled by Roach, with Dan Lawrence failing to build on a start as he went for 20 caught at second slip off Jason Holder.

The foundation for England's response was laid by Bairstow and Ben Stokes (36), who put on 67 before the latter thick-edged Seales on to leg stump, with Ben Foakes then adding 42 in his first Test since last year's tour of India in a sixth-wicket stand of 99.

Foakes was pinned lbw to break that partnership but the wicket of Bairstow, who deviated superbly between attack and defence in facing 216 balls, consistently punishing wide deliveries, proved elusive.

There were shades of the SCG in January as he wildly celebrated a richly deserved century and, with Bairstow and Chris Woakes (24 not out) bringing up a 50 partnership in the final over, England's hopes of gaining a better result than the draw they claimed in Sydney will be increasing.

Bairstow is England's glue once again

Having missed England's fifth Test with Australia in Hobart, Bairstow made it back-to-back hundreds in the longest format by following up his Sydney effort with another shining performance.

Sustained partnerships have been tough to come by for England in recent times, but when they have put them together, Bairstow has often been involved. Indeed, five of the last seven 50 partnerships for England have included Bairstow.

Windies face brick wall

The Windies would have hoped to make inroads with the second new ball in the final overs of the day. They failed to do so. The last 10 overs saw England add 33 runs without loss, and there will surely be concern among the hosts over how they let a seemingly dominant position slip.

West Indies fast bowler, Chinelle Henry, insists the team is determined to take things one game at a time after a dizzying start to the ICC Women's World Cup, which saw them net a thrilling win over hosts New Zealand.

On the back of a fine century from opener Hayley Matthews and crunch-death bowling from all-rounder Deandra Dottin, the team snatched a narrow 3-run win over the Kiwis in their first match. 

The Windies return to action Tuesday, at 5:00 pm, for the first time since that game, and Henry insists they will head into the contest grounded and focused on the task at hand.  England will be looking to get on the board after losing their first encounter against Australia.

“For us, it really is game by game. That first game against New Zealand - Yes, we had discussions with the coaching staff. We had discussions with everybody - but as a team, you know going out there we just had the discussions among ourselves that doesn't matter what happened,” Henry said on Monday.

“We just have - once everybody takes up the responsibility that I am going to do it for the team, then collectively we will just - we all will do it for the team. And I think that's the mentality we have brought into this team going into this World Cup - that if every single player put up their hand and be like, okay, today's my day, then when all 11 players come together collectively, we will and can beat anything.”

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