Windies secure series draw

Darren Bravo and Jermaine Blackwood shared a match-winning century stand as West Indies defeated England in three days to draw the Test series 1-1 in Barbados.

Chasing a tricky 192 for victory, Bravo hit a decisive 82 and Blackwood carved out an unbeaten 47 as the hosts reeled in their target for the loss of five wickets.

On a wearing pitch where batsmen struggled throughout their partnership of 108, the largest of the match, was the cornerstone of a memorable triumph.

While it was a compelling Test and a great advertisement for the longer format, the implications of defeat for England could be massive.

Incoming ECB chairman Colin Graves had promised an inquiry should the tourists fail to win the series, and the future of head coach Peter Moores is likely to return to the top of the agenda.

The size of the target had seemed to place the result on a knife edge, and at 80 for four just after tea England were firmly in the conversation.

But as Bravo and Blackwood grew in stature, the tourists shrunk – lacking a coherent spin option as Moeen Ali struggled and unable to prise one more magical session from their man of the series James Anderson.

Bravo fell just before the end, but Blackwood delivered the winning runs with a stylish blow for four.

Jos Buttler’s botched stumping of Blackwood may have been a crucial moment, but the seeds of defeat were sown early in the day when they were bundled out for 123.

They had publicly targeted a lead north of 200 but fell short after losing five for 84 in a chaotic morning.

The West Indian pursuit began with an opening stand of 35 between Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope.

But more worryingly for England, they had already burned both DRS reviews by the 11th over.

A sceptical Alastair Cook was wrongly persuaded by Jonathan Trott to refer a caught behind decision against Brathwaite, while Chris Jordan lost a narrow gamble against Hope.

Jordan was not to be deterred, trapping Brathwaite lbw then pouncing with yet another memorable one-handed slip catch – his fourth of the series – to account for Hope.

Marlon Samuels and Bravo halted the surge, putting on another 35 before Stuart Broad and Joe Root dried up the runs with 22 consecutive dot balls.

The 23rd brought the wicket, Broad upping his pace and slanting one through Samuels’ defence and into the stumps.

The run drought continued until tea but was ended in style when Bravo smashed Root’s first ball of the evening session for six and followed up with four more.

England hit back immediately, Anderson as surprised as anyone to see Shivnarine Chanderpaul cannon a gentle loosener into his stumps for nought.

Chanderpaul, 40, has had a storied career but a dreadful series suggests the curtain call has finally come.

Blackwood was his replacement and would have fallen in ugly fashion for four, stumped on the charge against Root, had Buttler not fumbled his take.

Instead he was allowed a second life and cashed in by swatting Moeen for six when he served up a familiar long hop.

Bravo and Blackwood ticked off two notable milestones, taking the required runs below 100 then nudging the team total into three figures, without further incident.

Bravo moved past 50 by driving Broad handsomely through point, with heads now flagging visibly in the field.

When one Anderson over leaked 13 runs, including four wayward byes, it seemed the balance had shifted irrevocably.

Bravo ensured there would be no fourth day needed as he pummelled a tiring attack for a series of late boundaries, but fell to Ben Stokes with just four needed to win.

Blackwood finished the job in his stead, lofting the toothless Moeen over the top for four.

England had started the day on a fragile overnight score of 39 for five and were bowled out just before lunch in the 43rd over of the innings.

Only Buttler, with an unbeaten 35 from his lowly position at eight, seemed in real control, but Stokes did chip in with a hit-and-miss 32.

The pair added 33 at better than four an over, a run-rate that would have proved ruinous had they stayed together for an hour.

Instead slow left-armer Veerasammy Permaul followed up his dismissal of Gary Ballance by tempting Stokes down the track and picking up the leading edge.

Neither Jordan or Broad offered any support for Buttler, dismissed by successive Jason Holder deliveries, but Anderson hung around in a stand of 25 before Jerome Taylor proved too good.

At that stage, England might have felt another 20 runs would have been enough, but Bravo and Blackwood had other ideas.

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