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BRIDGETOWN: Kraigg Brathwaite’s celebrated obduracy was again necessary after his first innings marathon 160 as the West Indies captain’s unbeaten second innings half-century ensured another draw on the final day of the second Test against England at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Sunday.

Needing to survive two sessions having been set the improbable target of 282, Brathwaite’s unbeaten 56 made sure a stumble to 93 for five just after tea did not result in a complete collapse as he got the necessary support from Joshua da Silva (30 not out) with the skipper and wicketkeeper negotiating 21 overs without being separated.

Australia win toss, bat in deciding third Pakistan Test

Having opted to declare his team’s second innings at 185 for six at the end of a rain-interrupted first session, England skipper Joe Root took two catches with the home side sliding into early trouble at 39 for three at the start of the afternoon session.

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach struck in his very first over when opener John Campbell was caught off bat and pad by Alex Lees at silly point. However it was Saqib Mahmood, one of England’s two debutants in their bowling attack, who claimed the other two wickets with assistance from his skipper.

Shamarh Brooks hung his bat outside the off-stump and Zak Crawley juggled with the chance at second slip before an alert Root completed the catch. There was no such drama though when Mahmood drew an edge from Nkrumah Bonner’s bat four overs later for the captain to make no mistake at first slip.

Brathwaite and Brooks extended their fourth-wicket stand to exactly 50 when Leach drew a defensive prod for Jonny Bairstow to take the catch on his knees at gully. When new man Jason Holder wafted loosely at the specialist spinner and Dan Lawrence took a diving catch at short extra-cover, West Indies were very much in danger of capitulating.

All still to play for

But the captain found solidity and determination in the shape of Da Silva as the pair saw the West Indies to safety to leave the series open going into the final Test in Grenada on Thursday.

“My plan was just to play straight and as late as possible. I really enjoyed it,” said Brathwaite after being named man of the match for two innings in which he faced a combined 673 deliveries, the most ever by a West Indies batsman in a single Test in 94 years of Test cricket.

There has been considerable criticism of the pitches for the first two Tests in Antigua and Barbados and the West Indies captain was hopeful there will be a different surface for the third and final Test.

“Obviously we would like to see something in it for the pacers,” he stated. “All in all I am happy with the big effort we put in for both matches so far but let’s see what sort of pitch we get when we get to Grenada.”

Leach led the bowling effort with figures of three for 36 while Mahmood claimed two for 21.

While their run-scoring efforts in the morning session were frustrated by several brief stoppages for rain, the visitors still achieved their objective in putting the match beyond the reach of the home side as attacking innings from Dan Lawrence (41) and opener Crawley (40) led a selfless effort in which every England batsman eschewed caution in prioritising the team objective.

Left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul and pacer Jayden Seales were the prime bowling beneficiaries of that unrestrained aggression, both taking two wickets each while Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph took a wicket apiece.

Root faced up to the inevitable query over whether he took too long on the final morning to make the declaration.

“It’s always a tricky one isn’t it because you’re always trying to weigh up the options,” he acknowledged.

“We had to be mindful how small this ground is and how strong the wind was through the day to consider the prospects of someone really coming off could put us under pressure.”

Like his West Indian counterpart, he felt that after the new ball lost its shine there was very little in it for the faster bowlers on this surface.

“It felt like you really needed to make an impact while the ball was hard and while there was a bit of bounce for seamers and spinners as well,” he explained.

“Credit though to the West Indies who fought really hard again today.”

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