Shai Hope rose to the occasion with a second century in a matter of days which underpinned a monumental victory for the West Indies after they chased down 322 against England in the second Test.
The 23-year-old became the first person in history to record centuries in both innings of a first-class match at Headingley, but more importantly his 118 not out in trying circumstances ushered the tourists to an Investec series-levelling five-wicket triumph.
Hope came to the crease at 53 for two but belied his tender years and relative inexperience in only his 12th Test to put on a match-altering 144-run partnership with Kraigg Brathwaite, a stand that ultimately helped to secure the Windies’ first victory on these shores since June 2000.
Stat of the day
There have been 534 first-class matches at Headingley and amazingly, though some greats of the game at Yorkshire, England and beyond have played at this world famous ground, no one had recorded a hundred in either innings.
That Hope is the first man to do so comes as an enormous surprise, not least because he came to Leeds without a three-figure score in his first 11 Tests.
Windies’ new Hope
Hope came highly-recommended from the Caribbean – although an average of 18.61 prior to this Test is hardly a ringing endorsement. He came to the crease amid a mini-wobble for the Windies, who had lost two quick wickets, and perhaps buoyed by his first-innings 147 looked immediately comfortable.
He breezed to a half-century from 70 balls without ever looking in trouble before playing the match situation after Brathwaite’s dismissal. At that point, the tourists still needed 125 and Hope showed the requisite composure to lead his side home. Expect to read a lot more about this young man.
Tweet of the day
Former England captain Michael Vaughan will not be the only one to eat a slice following the Windies’ shock win.
Catches win matches
West Indies’ fielding has been widely pilloried in Headingley, with a number of dropped catches costing them in excess of 200 runs, but England will rue Alastair Cook shelling a regulation chance which gave Brathwaite a lifeline.
The Windies opener had only four to his name when he edged Stuart Broad to first slip and although the ball flew to Cook, it is a chance he would usually snaffle.
It proved the one that got away as Brathwaite rode his luck to contribute a further match-shaping 91 runs in a crucial stand with Hope, who was also grassed by Cook after he had passed his hundred, the final nail in England’s coffin.
Five days tests are here to stay
Is there anything more spellbinding than a final session of a Test match where all four results are still possible? Nerves were frayed, tensions were high – and that was just in the press box.
There has been some suggestion that what is still regarded by the purists as the pinnacle of the game could be shortened to four days in an effort to shake up dwindling interest. But as this match has proven, Test cricket is at its most thrilling when it reaches a crescendo. Try telling those at Headingley this encounter should have finished on Monday.
England will lick their wounds before heading to Lord’s for next week’s decider while the West Indies, having battled for recognition since arriving on these shores, will hope to continue the momentum and seal an unlikely series win, a prospect that would have seemed unimaginable only days ago, following their innings defeat at Edgbaston in the opener.