The fourth day was, in many respects, a tough one for us. Roach somehow could not find the right line and his pace scared no one. Moen Ali was devastating and Woakes looked like nothing but trouble. Nevertheless we kept plugging away as all highly motivated teams do, and when the big man Gabriel finally got Root, one of the few genuinely great modern batsmen, we were back in the game. Contrary to popular belief, West Indies teams always try to win. In the twenty-first century we have not been so good at winning, but those of us who keep the faith knew it would happen more frequently in the longer run ‒ something about cycles. For a while when Moen Ali started his onslaught I became worried about our fear of winning syndrome.
I started the fifth day having more confidence than an experienced cricket watcher ought to have on a fifth day with more than 300 runs to score, but I needed the confidence badly since I knew I could only watch the pre-lunch period and therefore could not perform my normal ‘supervisory duties’ while the youngsters batted after lunch. My confidence began to grow when I noticed that Anderson started behaving badly, and Braithwaite started to play with more assurance. The chance granted to Brathwaite was quickly neutralized by that horrible run-out experience of Kyle Hope.
Obviously in my absence Shai Hope again demonstrated why Bishop and Dujohn have felt so certain about his class, and that little dynamo Blackwood again demonstrated his natural mental strength in that blazing 41.
This overseas victory against England whose commentators never fail to talk as if we don’t belong in their league, has to be one of the sweetest.
No more arguments about whether we belong. The trick is to give all the help we can afford to our players. There is no reason why we cannot become a top team again. Congrats to the youngsters. Has anyone noticed what is happening to Australia in Bangladesh? Parity is close.