BBC Sport – James Anderson inspired England to a nine-wicket win over
West Indies on the final day of the second Test.
Anderson took three wickets, two catches and ran out Jason Holder with a direct hit as the home side slipped from an overnight 202-2 to 307 all out.
That left England 143 to win, reached with an unbeaten 81 from Gary Ballance and Alastair Cook’s 59 not out.
Victory in Grenada, a first Test win overseas since 2012, gives England a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The unlikely circumstances of the victory – England needed to take eight wickets on a docile pitch quickly enough for a run chase to be possible – are not the only reason for Cook’s side to be delighted.
It comes on the back of a disastrous World Cup campaign, the threat of “enquiries” from incoming England and Wales Cricket chairman Colin Graves if they do not succeed in the Caribbean, and after the make-up of their attack for this match came under fire.
But there are still issues to be addressed for the final Test in Barbados, not least the
position of Jonathan Trott at the top of the order.
After making a first-innings half-century, Trott fell for his second duck since returning to the side in the first Test. In a three-ball stay, he survived an lbw review before chopping Shannon Gabriel on to his stumps.
That was the only low point of an England day that was dominated by Anderson’s brilliance with the ball and in the field.
As the home side resumed 37 ahead, the tourists were relying on the second new ball to create opportunities and Anderson, a week on from becoming England’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, provided the catalyst through an exhibition of aggressive swing bowling. Fourth-day centurion Kraigg Brathwaite could only fend a vicious short ball to gully before Shivnarine Chanderpaul was superbly caught by a diving Cook at first slip after Ian Bell parried the initial chance.
And, when Marlon Samuels failed to withdraw his bat from an away-swinger, Anderson
had 3-1 with the new ball in overall figures of 4-43.
As pressure on West Indies increased, Anderson was barely out of the game, first holding a loose drive from Jermaine Blackwood at mid-off from the bowling of Chris Jordan, then doing the same at mid-on to dismiss Kemar Roach off Moeen Ali.
In between was perhaps the most spectacular of the lot, a direct hit of the non-striker’s end from mid-off to defeat Holder’s lazy attempt to return to his ground.
Home captain Denesh Ramdin briefly halted England’s charge, but missed a Moeen full toss to be lbw, with Gabriel pinned two balls later to complete a much-improved display by the England off-spinner.
Though Trott went in the second over, England’s chase was never in doubt as Cook and Balance shared an unbroken stand of 142.
Cook scored almost exclusively square of the wicket to notch his fifth half-century in eight Test knocks, looking much more fluent than his first-innings 76.
Ballance accelerated towards victory, finding the boundary through 360 degrees and becoming the third-fastest England batsman to 1,000 Test runs.
He was dropped on 15 at slip from Samuels’ off-spin, but, even by then, West Indies were beaten.
Scores: England 464 (Root 182*, Ballance 77, Cook 76, Trott 59, Bishoo 4-177) and 144 for 1 (Ballance 81*, Cook 59*) beat West Indies 299 (Samuels 103, Broad 4-61) and 307 (Brathwaite 116, Bravo 69, Anderson 4-43) by nine wickets.
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