LONDON, England, CMC – Fast bowling legend Sir Curtly Ambrose has praised the young West Indies team following their amazing win over England in the second Test match at Headingley.
Sir Curtly was scathing in his criticism of the Windies following the heading innings defeat in the first Test, which he witnessed first hand. The visitors, however, hit back in the second contest when they chased down 322 on the final day to win by five wickets in one of the greatest matches in Test history.
Writing in the Daily Mail newspaper in England, Sir Curtly said: “I would like to begin by congratulating West Indies on their amazing win in the second Test at Headingley. They played very well and deserved their victory.
“Last week I had some strong words to say about their performance at Edgbaston, where they lost 19 wickets in a day. Some thought I was being harsh. But my criticism was fair and just.”
He added: “…the way West Indies played at Headingley tells me that those guys could have played a lot better in the first Test. They took the attack to England and they played with confidence and self-belief, which is all I asked for. I’m very pleased for them.”
Sir Curtly is one of the greatest fast bowlers in cricket history. He took 405 wickets in 98 Test matches. He is famous for several top-class bowling performances, including a match-winning eight-wicket haul against England in Barbados in 1990 and the phenomenal spell of seven wickets for one run against Australia at Perth in 1992-93 series.
“I’m happy if my words had an impact. I would also like to point out that people dwelled on the negative things I said in that column,” said Sir Curtly who until last year served as the Windies bowling coach.
“I also said that what happened at Edgbaston was only one game and there were two to come. What pleased me most about Headingley was that our guys played as if they believed they could not just compete with England, but win.”
The West Indies heroes in Leeds were young batsmen Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite – two players Sir Curtly worked while he was Windies coach between 2015 and 2016.
Hope scored 147 and 118 not out to be named Man-of-the-Match and to become the first batsman to score two centuries in a first-class match at Headingley.
The match was the 534th first-class dixture at the venue and 76th Test match.
Brathwaite, meanwhile, scored 134 in a first innings partnership of 246. He added 95 in the second innings.
Ambrose praised both saying: “Shai Hope has, I believe, always been a talented player, so well done to him for becoming the first to score two hundreds in a game at Headingley. But he must build on this. It is only the start of his career. If he wants to, he can become a great batsman for West Indies.
“I was also impressed with Kraigg Brathwaite. He’s more of a grafter and played excellently for his first-innings century. So it was a shame he played such a bad shot in the second, when he needed only five more for his hundred.
“Like Hope, he has to build on this and get even better. The same goes for the team. This result will mean little if they go to Lord’s and fail to back it up. They can’t afford to be complacent or relax for one moment because England will fight back hard. Enjoy the moment, sure, but be prepared”.
The final Test of the three-match series starts at Lord’s next Thursday.