Moments in Time: Shai Hope, Kraigg Brathwaite forge unbreakable bond in England

On the eve of the West Indies historic bio-secure Test series against England, I thought it interesting to take a look back at the last time the Caribbean outfit had any good days in England.

To find that, I never had to look too far into memory, with two of the players on the tour in defence of the Wisden Trophy, set to line up against the English.

It was 2017 and the West Indies had been battered 3-1 over the course of an ODI series and by August 25, were well and truly underdogs after England thrashed them by an innings and 209 runs in the first Test.

Maybe the West Indies were just too inexperienced to compete against England in England, maybe the team needed more time.

Even after day one when England had been blown away for 258, the confidence of the West Indies at Headingley was still not there.

The West Indies had been in a stronger position than when the innings ended but Ben Stokes had scored a century. With the West Indies having notched just 168 and 137 in the innings they played in the last game, Stokes’ milestone may have been a backbreaker.

But the West Indies were made of sterner stuff than that.

Kieran Powell had made just five on the evening before, while night watchman Devendra Bishoo only managed one. Kyle Hope, who had a disastrous time in England was also back in the pavilion for the West Indies.

Still, a belligerent Kraigg Brathwaite was there, determined to make up for his failures in the West Indies’ first game.

Brathwaite would show great courage and mental strength in scoring 134 from 249 deliveries.

He was batting with Shai Hope at number five, and it was felt that if any of these were to lose the plot, the West Indies would fold.

Well, neither of them did and in the case of Hope, he wouldn’t fall until three runs away from the 150-run milestone.

Hope struck 23 boundaries and interestingly, never went over the ropes once, though his 253-ball knock was not slow.

The Caribbean then watched as England recovered from their slow start, scoring 490-8 in their second innings thanks to an all-round batting performance.

Mark Stoneman had scored 52, while Joe Root had gotten to 72 before he got out. Stokes, fresh off his century scored 58. But the runs didn’t stop coming after the West Indies got into the lower order. Moeen Ali, batting at number eight, would score an aggressive 84, and Chris Woakes could not be beaten and had scored 61 when the innings was declared.

With 322 needed, the Caribbean again held its breath.

Powell, 23, and Hope, naught, might have meant that collective breath would not have to be held for too much longer, but there was ‘Hope’.

The Barbados teammates came together with the score on 53-2 and when Brathwaite departed at 95, five runs short of an immortal, the worries set in again.

The West Indies were 197-3, still a long way off 322.

Roston Chase then scored an invaluable 30, while Jermaine Blackwood added 41.

All the while, Hope stood supreme, resolute. He would not lose that day.

He would add 14 more boundaries to the 23 he caressed in the first innings and guide the West Indies to a famous victory.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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