Bridgetown – Roston Chase proved the unlikely bowling hero as the off-spinner
destroyed England with career-best figures of eight for 60 as the West
Indies crushed the visitors by 381 runs to win the first Test at
Kensington Oval on Saturday.
Set the improbable target of 628 to win, the tourists slid to
ignominious defeat in bright sunshine on the fourth day, losing their
last six wickets for 31 runs either side of the tea interval to be
dismissed for 246, ending a winning streak of five matches.
It was the largest margin of victory by the West Indies on home soil
and third largest anywhere in their 91 years as a Test-playing nation.
Chase made the most of a fourth day pitch showing more signs of wear
but also benefited from poor shot selection by an England side that
looked shell-shocked from the events of the previous two days when they
were routed for just 77 in their first innings.
They then saw the West Indies mass 415 for six declared in the second
innings with captain Jason Holder starring with an unbeaten
double-century and wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich contributing 116
not out in an unbroken seventh-wicket partnership of 295.
It was left to stand-in wicketkeeper Shai Hope to complete the
dismissal which sealed the result, stumping Sam Curran down the leg-side
off Chase 40 minutes into the final session.
“To come back the way we have as a team and for me personally after
the last few months is really satisfying,” said Holder after victory was
“This is just the first Test of three and there is a lot of work to be done. Achieving consistency continues to be the key.”
Given England’s dominance of Sri Lanka and their spinners in
sub-continental conditions less than two months earlier, the manner of
their capitulation would have been particularly surprising.
Not that it mattered in the least to Chase who reaped considerable
reward to eclipse his previous best Test innings figures of five for 121
against India in Jamaica in just his second Test in 2016.
If West Indies
expectations in the victory push on the fourth morning were that pace
would replicate the devastation of the first innings, the lanky
26-year-old changed the narrative when he ended opening batsman Rory
Burns’ quest for a maiden Test century off the final delivery before
Burns top-scored for England with 84.
Enjoying the conditions and England’s indecisiveness, he added the
wickets of England skipper Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, the
off-spinning all-rounder suffering the indignity of a “pair” in the
afternoon to end the tourists’ hopes of taking the match into a fifth
Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who would have had the wicket of Root
but was called for a no-ball when the batsman gloved a sharp lifter to
Holder in the slips, made amends by dismissing Jonny Bairstow to a
leg-side catch by Hope.
Another pacer, Alzarri Joseph, had taken the first wicket of the day
when he broke an opening partnership of 85 by having Keaton Jennings
caught by Holder at third slip for 14.
In contrast to Holder’s outstanding performances in front of his home
crowd, which earned him the man of the match award, this has been a
miserable experience for Root.
Reprieved by Gabriel’s front foot indiscretion, he failed to take
full advantage of the let-off, eventually wafting outside the off-stump
at Chase to give Darren Bravo a straightforward catch at slip to depart
“We are a far better side than we have played in this match and we
need to remember that going into the next match,” said disappointed
“We could have gone down a different route in team selection but the important factor is that we can do a lot better than this.”
With Gabriel troubled by a foot injury and Chase settling into a
wicket-taking groove, it was inevitable he would be persisted with in
the final session and did not disappoint.
Jos Buttler fell to a diving catch by John Campbell at short mid-on,
Shimron Hetmyer somehow held on to a sharp chance at short-leg to remove
Ben Foakes and Kraigg Brathwaite judged a catch well on the midwicket
boundary to get rid of Adil Rashid before Hope administered the final
flourish behind the stumps.
Brief scores: West Indies 289 and 415 for 6 declared; England 77 and 246