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HomeSportsJoe Root: England could have been 'braver' with declaration after drawn second...

Joe Root: England could have been ‘braver’ with declaration after drawn second Test with West Indies

England settle for draw in second Test as Kraigg Brathwaite hits unbeaten fifty to follow his epic first-innings hundred, leading West Indies to safety on final day; Joe Root’s side reduce hosts to 39-3 and 93-5 but unable to take final five wickets; series tied 0-0 with one Test to play

Last Updated: 21/03/22 12:11am

Joe Root shows his frustration as England are unable to get the final five wickets needed for victory in the second Test in Barbados

England captain Joe Root admitted he could have risked a bolder declaration after his side could not quite force a final-day victory in the second Test against the West Indies in Barbados.

England took five West Indies second innings wickets after setting the hosts a target of 282 from 65 overs, but Kraigg Brathwaite – who denied Root’s men for a mammoth 489-ball 160 in the first innings – again frustrated the visitors, the Windies captain notching an unbeaten half century as the game ultimately petered out into a draw.

“It’s frustrating not to get the win, but the way we played was a brilliant effort on a very placid surface,” said Root. “It’s not a win, but it feels like another step forward.

“We could have maybe been a bit braver with the declaration, but it feels like a faster scoring ground here. I thought they might have a little go [at chasing], but it wasn’t the case.

  • West Indies reach 135-5 in 65 overs on final day
  • Hosts had been set notional 282 to win
  • West Indies reduced to 39-3 and 93-5
  • England declared on 185-6 at lunch
  • Tourists plundered 145 runs from 24.5 overs in morning
  • Third and final Test in Grenada from Thursday

“Maybe we could have pulled out 10 overs earlier, but defending 240 in 70 overs might be a big ask for any side on that wicket.

“We didn’t try to go for a miracle win in 30 overs, making sure we had 340 on the board, but I suppose the more confident you get, the braver you might get with those decisions.

“The most important thing is to keep finding ways of giving ourselves a chance to win Tests because we are finding positions where we’re on top and commanding the game.”

‘Astonishing’ Brathwaite blunts England

England might well have won the Test were it not for the tireless batting of Brathwaite, who occupied the crease for just under 12 hours in the first innings and more than four on the final day.

“It was annoying how good he was,” added Root. “He played brilliantly in both innings and ground us down.

“He takes it deep time and time again, he had a clear game plan and stuck to it very well.”

Windies captain Kraigg Brathwaite batted for approximately 16 hours in the Test match, using up a combined 894 deliveries

Windies captain Kraigg Brathwaite batted for approximately 16 hours in the Test match, using up a combined 894 deliveries

Former England batter Mark Butcher hailed Brathwaite’s efforts in the Test as “astonishing”, telling BT Sport: “I had a chat with [England batting coach] Marcus Trescothick and neither of us could quite comprehend how he could bat for as many balls as that and score as few runs as that.

“The level of abstemiousness to go out there and bat for 489 deliveries for 160 is quite extraordinary. It shows the extraordinary qualities of him as a leader.

“He wants to make West Indies a difficult team to beat in the way Joe Root wants to make England a difficult team to beat and he has led from the front.”

As for Brathwaite himself, he said he was looking forward to putting his feet up ahead of the deciding third Test in Grenada from Thursday.

“I’m a little tired and looking forward to getting some rest,” he said. “I had my plan. They bowled well, but I stuck with my plan and it paid off.

“It’s about discipline, knowing my strengths and sticking to them for as long as possible. I managed to do it very long in this game.”

Leach will gain confidence from ‘phenomenal performance’

Second only to the shift Brathwaite put in, England spinner Jack Leach got through a phenomenal 94.5 overs worth of work in the second Test, relentlessly plugging away on a fairly placid, unresponsive pitch.

The surface did wear as the the Test went on, with spin gradually coming more into the game, Leach finishing with match figures of 6-154 – three of those on the final afternoon as England briefly flirted with an unlikely victory.

Jack Leach bowled a staggering 94.5 overs across the entire Test match, finishing with figures of 6-154

Jack Leach bowled a staggering 94.5 overs across the entire Test match, finishing with figures of 6-154

Root said of Leach: “It’s really pleasing to see Jack play the way he has. You can see how much he enjoys it out there.

“He’s bowling with great control and looks threatening. It’s great to see him find his feet and look comfortable at this level.”

Leach at times copped some criticism in the first innings for not bowling slower to aid more spin off the Kensington Oval pitch, and while Butcher believes the left-arm spinner is “by no means the finished article”, he thinks his performance will give him greater confidence.

“He bowled as well as he was able to at this moment in his development as a Test match bowler,” Butcher said.

“He lacks one or two bits of the skills, one or two of the extra bits of guile a spinner might need to unlock batting line-ups desperate not to get out on flattish surfaces.

“But he is probably the best England have got at this moment, they have invested time in him and Root now seems happy to throw him the ball in any circumstances, which has not always been the case. He is basically saying, ‘you are my number one, go out there and win me games’.

“From Jack’s point of view it was a phenomenal performance and will give him confidence.”

West Indies and England meet in the third and final Test, in Grenada, from 2pm UK time on Thursday. Follow over-by-over text commentary from 1.45pm on and the Sky Sports app.

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