ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC – Mediocre batting coupled with a devastating new ball spell from seamer James Anderson combined to help West Indies squander a position of strength and slide to a heavy nine-wicket defeat to England in the second Test here yesterday.
Resuming the final day at the Grenada National Stadium on 202 for two – a lead of 37 runs overall – West Indies spectacularly lost their last eight wickets for 105 runs, to be all out for an insufficient 307, 35 minutes after lunch.
More tellingly, they lost six wickets for 84 runs in the first session as Anderson blew away the middle order with an inspired spell that saw him finish with four for 43.
Opener Kraigg Brathwaite, unbeaten overnight on 101, fell for 118 while his partner Marlon Samuels made 37, after resuming from 22.
There was no sign of what was to come when the pair stretched their third wicket stand to 79 with little alarms. However, once the right-handed Brathwaite fell in the seventh over of the morning with the score on 224, six wickets tumbled for 62 runs in quick time.
Set a meagre 143 for victory, England overcame the early loss of Jonathan Trott, to coast to their target with little or no complication.
Left-hander Gary Ballance sustained his good series form finishing on 81 not out – his second half- century of the game – while captain Alistair Cook followed suit with a knock of 59 not out, to also post his second 50-plus score of the encounter.
Following the drawn first Test in Antigua last week, the visitors will now take a 1-0 series lead into the third and final contest bowling off at Kensington Oval in Barbados next Friday.
Starting the day in a fabulous position to save the Test, West Indies’ confidence were given a further boost when Brathwaite pulled part-time off-spinner Joe Root to the square leg boundary off the first ball of the morning.
The right-handed opener collected another boundary in the following over from seamer Chris Jordan when he tickled a wayward delivery fine.
England immediately turned to the new ball when it became available three overs later, and it marked the decline of the West Indies innings.
With his first delivery with it, Anderson produced a lifter to Brathwaite who could only fend to gully where Root took a simple catch.
All told, Brathwaite faced 252 balls and struck 14 fours, in nine minutes shy of 5-1/2 hours at the crease.
Veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul’s poor run in the series continued when he perished for just seven four overs later, edging Anderson to second slip where Ian Bell parried the chance for Cook at first slip to take a superb reflex catch.
In his next over, Anderson claimed the valuable wicket of Samuels softly to a catch at the wicket and West Indies were really in turmoil when Jermaine Blackwood failed to clear mid-off with seamer Chris Jordan and gave Anderson a simple catch for 10.
The slide dramatic slide continued when Jason Holder was run out for two by a direct hit at the non-striker’s end by Anderson and two overs before lunch, Kemar Roach clipped off-spinner Moeen Ali to mid-on for Anderson to take his second catch.
Rocking at 286 for eight at the interval, West Indies benefitted afterward from a 25-run, ninth wicket partnership between captain Denesh Ramdin, who made 28 and Devendra Bishoo, who was left unbeaten on 15.
Hope sprang eternal until Ramdin was trapped lbw by a full length delivery from Moeen who then also claimed last man Shannon Gabriel two balls later without scoring to end the innings, and finish with three for 51.
Requiring a miracle to save the contest, West Indies spirits were lifted, albeit temporarily, in the second over of the England innings when Gabriel prised out Trott, bowled playing on without scoring.
However, it was to be their last success as Ballance and Cook put on a 142 runs for the second wicket to rule out any already farfetched thoughts of an upset.
Dropped twice – on three by Samuels at mid-wicket off seamer Holder and again on 67 by Devon Smith at slip off Samuels’ off-spin – Ballance hit eight fours and two sixes in an innings spanning 126 balls and nearly 2-1/2 hours.
Cook, meanwhile, played patiently, facing 121 balls in 157 minutes, and counting eight fours.
WEST INDIES 1st Innings 299
ENGLAND 1st Innings 464
WEST INDIES 2nd Innings
(overnight West Indies 202 for two)
K Brathwaite c Root b Anderson 118
D Smith b Anderson 2
DM Bravo c wkp Buttler b Broad 69
M Samuels c wkp Buttler b Anderson 37
S Chanderpaul c Cook b Anderson 7
J Blackwood c Anderson b Jordan 10
*+D Ramdin lbw b Ali 28
J Holder run out 2
K Roach c Anderson b Ali 10
D Bishoo not out 15
S Gabriel lbw b Ali 0
Extras (b8, lb2, nb1) 11
TOTAL (all out, 112 overs) 307
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Smith), 2-145 (Bravo), 3-224 (Brathwaite), 4-238 (Chanderpaul), 5-239 (Samuels), 6-257 (Blackwood), 7-260 (Holder), 8-282 (Roach), 9-307 (Ramdin), 10-307 (Gabriel)
Bowling: Anderson 22-7-43-4, Broad 21-2-71-1, Moeen Ali 24-9-51-3, Jordan 21-6-69-1 (nb1), Stokes 8-0-34-0, Root 16-7-29-0.
ENGLAND 2nd innings (target: 143 runs)
*A Cook not out 59
I Trott b Gabriel 0
G Ballance not out 81
Extras (1 wkt, nb3) 4
TOTAL (1 wkt, 41.1 overs) 144
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Trott).
Bowling: Roach 7-1-18-0, Gabriel 7-3-20-1, Holder 1.4-0-11-0 (w1), Samuels 12.3-1-54-0, Bishoo 8-0-32-0 (nb3), Brathwaite 5-1-9-0.
Result: England won by nine wickets.
Series: England lead three-Test series 1-0.
Man-of-the-match: Joe Root.
Umpires: S Davis, B Oxenford; TV – B Bowden.