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Marathon man Brathwaite's record-breaking half-century saves a draw for Windies

Kraigg Brathwaite

Barbados, March 21: Kraigg Brathwaite rescued West Indies with a record-breaking innings on his home ground as England again failed to force a final-day victory at Kensington Oval.

Windies captain Brathwaite spent 710 minutes at the crease to hold the tourists up with an excellent 160 in the first innings and he followed that up with a resolute unbeaten 56 in Barbados on Sunday to keep the three-match series level at 0-0.

Joe Root set West Indies 282 to win by declaring on 185 for six, but Brathwaite set a record of 673 for the most balls faced by a West Indies player in a single Test as he dug in for a second time.

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Brathwaite showed incredible concentration and skill as the Windies frustrated England for the second time in the series to grind out a draw, reaching 135-5 from 65 overs to set up a decider in Grenada.

Jack Leach (3-36) and Saqib Mahmood (2-21) gave the tourists high hopes of forcing a victory, but they were unable to dislodge the rock-solid Brathwaite or Joshua Da Silva (30 not out).

Spinner Veerasammy Permaul (2-29) removed Alex Lees (24) and Joe Root after England resumed on 40 without loss in need of quick runs before declaring.

Rain breaks held the tourists up, but Zak Crawley (40) and Dan Lawrence (41) built the lead, while Ben Stokes made a brisk 18 prior to striking Kemar Roach to Brathwaite at cover, having sent the paceman for a huge six over midwicket.

Jonny Bairstow made 29 off 25 balls, but the runs had dried up for England before the declaration came after more rain brought the players in once again late in the morning session.

Leach got the early breakthrough in his first over, with John Campbell caught by Leeds close to the bat. Mahmood then took centre stage, Root reacting to catch Shamarh Brooks after a Crawley juggling act and the captain held again on at first slip to dismiss Nkrumah Bonner.

West Indies were 65-3 at tea after a stand of 50 between the incredible Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood was ended by Leach, courtesy of Bairstow's catch close in to send the number five packing for 27.

Jason Holder faced 24 balls before departing for a duck, as Lawrence took a great diving catch at cover for Leach, but Brathwaite continued to stand firm with support from Da Silva in an unbroken partnership of 42.

Brathwaite shows incredible staying power

Another incredible captain's innings from Brathwaite at the top of the order left England scratching their hands.

The opener made England toil with a marathon 489-ball knock in the first innings and he dug in again when his team needed him on the final day.

Brathwaite's 184 balls faced on Sunday under great pressure moved him beyond the record of 582 that were delivered to Brian Lara, when he made his sensational 400 against England in April 2004.

England fall short despite Mahmood burst and Leach marathon

Mahmood led the way for England as he took 2-12 in an impressive opening spell.

Leach also did damage and racked up 94.5 overs in the match, but the spinner could not find a way to dismiss the phenomenal Brathwaite.

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Story first published: Monday, March 21, 2022, 3:40 [IST]
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