Shai Hope springs eternal for West Indies against England

Shai Hope rose to the occasion with a second century in a matter of days which underpinned a monumental victory for the West Indies after they chased down 322 against England in the second Test.

Twin centurion Shai Hope walks off in triumph after scoring the winning runs for West Indies against England at Headingley. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Twin centurion Shai Hope walks off in triumph after scoring the winning runs for West Indies against England at Headingley. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The 23-year-old became the first person to score a centuries in each innings of a first-class match at Headingley but, more importantly, his 118 not out in trying circumstances ushered the tourists to an Investec series-levelling five-wicket triumph.

Hope came to the crease at 53 for two but belied his tender years and relative inexperience in only his 12th Test to put on a match-altering 144-run partnership with Kraigg Brathwaite, a stand that ultimately helped to secure the Windies’ first victory on these shores since June 2000.

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While Brathwaite fell five runs short of pipping his partner to become the first person to record twin centuries at this ground, Hope was able to see the Windies home in a nerve-jangling finish, with all four results possible heading into the final session.

It was quite a turnaround for the Windies, following an innings-and-209-run trouncing at Edgbaston – a defeat that left many former players bemoaning the current set-up – but they silenced their critics in emphatic fashion.

England, to their credit, fought back from a 169-run first-innings deficit and captain Joe Root sportingly declared their second innings on Monday evening to leave their opponents the prospect of going for the fourth highest run chase in their history when they resumed on five without loss.

All English eyes, meanwhile, were on James Anderson, who needed only three more wickets to become just the sixth bowler to reach 500 in Tests.

But it was long-term opening bowling partner Stuart Broad who was the more threatening under leaden skies, with his morning duel with Brathwaite worth the £10 admission alone.

The Windies opener had his first moment of fortune on four when an edge from a tentative prod burst through the fingers of Alastair Cook to the chagrin of Broad, who was rewarded for pursuing a fuller length when Kieran Powell departed for 23 after prodding to Ben Stokes at fourth slip.

The expensive Broad continued with an attacking length although another breakthrough came in slightly fortuitous circumstances as he dropped a return catch from Brathwaite’s full-blooded drive, only to see the ricochet cannon into the non-striker’s stumps, leaving Kyle Hope, instinctively backing up, well out of his ground.

That seemed to swing the momentum towards England, but it also brought together the Windies’ first-innings centurions: Brathwaite and Hope, who had put on a 246-run stand in the first innings.

Hope, who averaged only 18.61 before this Test, took centre stage with some elegant strokeplay. He followed Brathwaite in going past his second 50 of the match off only 70 balls.

Moeen Ali was curiously ineffective on a pitch that was expected to offer a degree of turn but a change of ends for him paid dividend as he made a crucial breakthrough on the stroke of tea, Brathwaite chasing a wide one only to find the hands of Stokes at slip.

At the start of the final session, Root turned to senior bowlers Anderson and Broad.

New batter Roston Chase added a vital 30 before driving Woakes to substitute fielder Mason Crane at mid-on.

Hope soldiered on to his historic century but there was still time for late drama as, with 37 needed, Cook grassed another opportunity with Hope on 106.

Blackwood was stumped off Moeen for an enterprising 41 but, fittingly it Hope who scored the winning runs, clipping Woakes for a couple with 4.4 overs left to spark the 
Windies celebrations.