BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Off-spinner Roston Chase’s career-best eight-wicket haul propelled a dominant West Indies to their second largest win ever over England, as they crushed the hapless visitors by 381 runs inside four days of the opening Test to take a shock 1-0 lead in the three-match series here yesterday.
The 26-year-old bowled brilliantly to take eight for 60 – the second-best performance ever by a West Indies bowler against England – as the tourists, chasing an improbable 628 for victory, crumbled meekly for 246, three quarters of an hour after tea at Kensington Oval.
Resuming the day on 56 with survival as the only realistic option, left-handed opener Rory Burns led the initial resistance with a top score of 84 while all-rounder Ben Stokes chipped in with 34 and Jonny Bairstow got 30.
Jos Buttler (26) and captain Joe Root (22) got starts but England never came to grips with Chase on a wearing track especially after lunch when they lost four critical wickets in a damaging slide.
They had looked in good stead at lunch on 134 for two but the decline in the second session saw them lose their last eight wickets for 112 runs handing the hosts their third largest Test victory in terms of runs.
The day had started brightly when Burns and Keaton Jennings (14) extended their opening stand to 85, to keep the Windies without any immediate success in the morning session.
Burns scored quickly, punching 15 fours off 133 balls in just under 3-¼ hours at the crease while Jennings opted for defense as his approach, in his boundary-less nearly 2-¼ hour stay at the crease.
Approaching the first hour, West Indies got the breakthrough when fast bowler Alzarri Joseph got Jennings to drive at a full length delivery and edge a catch high to Jason Holder’s left at second slip.
Burns then put on another 49 for the second wicket with the fluent Bairstow, in a stand which appeared to be taking England safely to lunch. But Chase breached Burns’s loose forward defensive stroke and bowled him between bat and pad with the penultimate delivery before the interval.
The real drama, however, started almost immediately following the resumption. Off the third ball, captain Joe Root fended off a lifter from speedster Shannon Gabriel to second slip where Holder took the gentle lob but television replays showed the bowler had overstepped.
Undaunted, Gabriel struck in his next over when he got Bairstow to glove one through to wicketkeeper Shai Hope, deputising for the injured Shane Dowrich.
Root made little of his reprieve when he departed on the stroke of the first hour after lunch, steering Chase to Darren Bravo at slip at 167 for four.
England then resisted through a 48-run fifth wicket stand between Stokes and Buttler, the former playing positively in an attempt to transfer England’s pressure.
Stokes went after Chase with a boundary to long on before clearing the ropes at long off in the same over.
But Chase struck two key blows in the last 13 minutes before tea when he first trapped Stokes lbw and then had Moeen Ali caught at second slip by Holder, driving at the penultimate ball before the break.
Tottering on 217 for six at the break, England were staring down the barrel and Chase duly performed the final rites as he took the last four wickets for the addition of only 29 runs.
With his first ball of the second over following the resumption, he claimed Buttler to an excellent catch by debutant John Campbell at short mid-wicket, to complete his second five-wicket haul in Tests.
And in his next over, Chase got his sixth wicket when Ben Foakes’s (5) attempted sweep found Shimron Hetmyer’s lap at short leg, and Adil Rashid (1) holed out to Kraigg Brathwaite at deep mid-wicket in the bowler’s next over, to put England on the brink.
The next Test starts at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua next Thursday.