West Indies are the Wisden Trophy holders after beating England 2-1 in the Caribbean in early 2019.
Read on to see how they did it as Jason Holder’s men prepare to defend the prize behind closed doors this summer…
England vs W Indies
July 8, 2020, 10:30am
Roach rips through England
Start as you mean to go on, they say. Well, England’s opening to their 2019 tour of the Caribbean certainly wasn’t what they had planned, but it proved indicative of a hugely disappointing series.
In the first Test in Barbados, in reply to the West Indies’ modest first-innings score of 289 – Shimron Hetmyer, absent from this trip, top-scoring with 81 – England were bowled out for 77!
Kemar Roach upstaged Jimmy Anderson (5-46), who earlier became the first England bowler to take 200 wickets away from home as he claimed his 27th Test five-for, by finishing with stunning figures of 5-17 from his 11 overs.
Both Rory Burns and Jonny Bairstow – up at No 3 and without the gloves – were late on shots, chopping onto their stumps, while Ben Stokes fell for a 17-ball duck, out lbw to a bail-trimmer, and Moeen Ali was a first-baller.
The deliveries that did for Moeen and Roach’s prized fifth scalp, Jos Buttler, were rip-snorters of the highest order – sharp pace and bounce – with Moeen fending his off his body down to fine leg and Buttler snicking his outside off stump.
England were bundled out inside 30.2 overs and already headed for a heavy first Test defeat.
Holder hammers double ton
There was still further punishment to be inflicted at the Bridgetown Oval, however, and the next blow would come from the home-town boy and home-team captain, Jason Holder.
England had worked their way back into the match ever so slightly after their dismal day two batting display, reducing the West Indies to 127-6 by stumps – albeit the hosts still holding a healthy 339-run lead.
Joe Root’s men needed early wickets on day three to have any hope of chasing a gettable target, instead they came up against a devastatingly defiant Holder.
Holder had registered his maiden Test ton on England’s last visit in 2015 but, on this occasion, he blasted a first double-century, off just 229 balls – the second-fastest by a West Indian batsman and fastest in the Caribbean.
Shane Dowrich’s part in the onslaught should also not be underestimated. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who averaged a paltry four runs over his previous seven innings against England, including a duck on day one, struck a superb century, sharing in an unbroken 295-run stand with his skipper.
After Holder brought up his double-ton with his 23rd boundary – to go with eight sixes – the West Indies declared on 415-6, with a massive 627-run lead.
Chase takes eight!
The punishment wasn’t over for England. Well and truly batted out of the game in that first Test, they were left with two-and a-bit days to try and bat out for a draw – but spin did for them second time around.
Roston Chase – primarily considered a batting all-rounder and who had contributed an important fifty in the first innings – ripped through England with figures of 8-60.
Burns and Keaton Jennings had blunted the new-ball threat, surviving 28.5 overs, before Alzarri Joseph finally tempted the latter to edge one to slip. Burns would continue on a little longer, batting nicely for 84, before becoming Chase’s first victim, being bowled by his part-time off-spin.
After Shannon Gabriel dismissed Bairstow, caught behind, shortly after, Chase ran through the rest of the England order as the tourists were bowled out for 246, ensuring the West Indies’ greatest-ever home win in terms of margin or runs (381).
Chase’s bowling figures were also the best by a West Indies spin bowler since 1971. He would not take another wicket for the entire series.
West Indies clinch series win
England’s fortunes would not improve in Antigua for the second Test, bowled out for 187 in the first innings and 132 in the second.
It was Roach doing the damage again, taking 8-82 in the Test, on his way to a table-topping 18 for the series.
Bairstow’s first-innings fifty – the last of his failed experiment at No 3 – and 60 for Moeen were to be the only highlights for England with the bat; Joe Denly managed a combined 23 from his two innings’ opening the batting on Test debut.
Darren Bravo showed the application badly lacking from England’s batsmen, grinding out a crucial half-century from a 216-ball and 342-minute stay at the crease – just two boundaries registered and, strangely, also a maximum.
Bravo’s innings helped the hosts up to a first-innings score of 306 and, while England just about made the West Indies bat again, they needed just 13 balls to knock off their 14-run target and clinch an emphatic series win.
Wood brings the fire in final Test
Playing for nothing but pride in the final Test in St Lucia, England found far more than that as pace ace Mark Wood truly emerged as a reliable and formidable Test match bowler.
Having made his Test debut four years prior in 2015, Wood had appeared in only four Tests since the October of that year, having been ravaged by an array of injury troubles.
Finally fit and firing, and after Stokes (79) and Buttler (67) had helped England to one of their better batting efforts of the series – a first-innings score of 277 – Wood claimed his maiden Test five-for in just 8.2 blisteringly fast overs.
Wood (5-41) had Shai Hope and Chase slicing 92mph deliveries to gully in consecutive balls, Hetmyer and Bravo picked up at first slip and then rounded things off by clean-bowling Gabriel as the West Indies were bowled out for 154.
A sublime century from the England captain added to England’s advantage, with Root hitting 122 as the visitors declared on 361-5 in their second innings, setting the hosts a highly unlikely 485 to win.
The West Indies made a better fist of things second time round, with Wood limited to just the one wicket and Chase making amends for his earlier first-ball duck with an unbeaten 102, before ultimately succumbing to a 232-run defeat.