Stuart Broad led England’s push for victory and was grateful for a slice of fortune on the final day of the second Test against West Indies.
Broad was rewarded for bowling a fuller, attacking line when he snared Kieran Powell but the moment of the morning came when the seamer dropped a return catch from Kraigg Brathwaite, only for the ricochet to cannon into the non-striker’s stumps with Kyle Hope stranded.
It was a second reprieve for Brathwaite (49no) on a testing morning for the batsmen but the battling opener survived an intriguing showdown with Broad to help take the Windies to 86 for two, needing a further 236 to level the Investec series.
Windies bowling coach Roddy Estwick insisted his side should not be written off, having been on top for much of the first three days with England roaring back yesterday to leave the tourists 322 for victory, a total that would be their fourth highest successful chase of all time.
While James Anderson was eyeing the three wickets he needed for 500 Test scalps, it was Broad who was England’s dangerman under darkened skies and with the lights on at Headingley.
The paceman found the edge of Brathwaite, on four, only to see the ball burst through the hands of Alastair Cook at first slip and his mood would not have improved after being driven down the ground by both batsmen.
Broad was proving expensive but he persisted with a fuller length and finally had the breakthrough as Powell departed for 23 after edging to Ben Stokes, who took a chest-high catch at fourth slip.
Anderson, at times unusually wayward this morning, thought he had wicket number 498 in the next over but another Brathwaite edge fell just short of Tom Westley at third slip, while the Windies opener was given another life soon after.
On 22, Brathwaite’s full-blooded drive was spilled by Broad only to shoot into the stumps at the non-striker’s end, with Kyle Hope short of his ground backing up.
It was a bizarre dismissal but one that brought together the Windies’ two first-innings centurions, Brathwaite and Shai Hope, who dug in with relatively few alarms as the skies began to brighten.
Brathwaite heaved Moeen Ali for a maximum over midwicket to remind England that the Windies are still in with a fighting chance in this contest.