Shai Hope became the first man to score a hundred in both innings of a first-class match at Headingley as he inspired the West Indies to a truly magnificent and wholly unlikely five-wicket win over England in a thrilling second test on Tuesday.
Hope and fellow Barbadian Kraigg Brathwaite reprised their first-innings heroics to inspire a side written off and dismissed as “pathetic” after a crushing innings defeat in the first test at Edgbaston.
The pair, who both scored hundreds first time around, again combined superbly, compiling another century partnership to provide the backbone of the Windies’ gripping chase of 322 runs to level the three-match series.
Jermaine Blackwood then muscled the visitors towards the finishing line with Hope, smashing a typically thunderous 41 off 45 balls including two sixes.
It was the Windies’ first victory in a test in England for 17 years and one of the most unexpected triumphs in the game’s history such have been the recent woes of Caribbean cricket.
Hope, 23, proved the visitors’ hero with his unprecedented achievement of twin centuries in a match after 118 years of first-class cricket at the famous Yorkshire venue.
Hope, who had scored his maiden test hundred with 147 in the first innings, batted for 211 balls for his unbeaten 118, playing with remarkable skill and composure to guide the Windies to victory.
England will rue dropped catches – Alastair Cook spilled Hope and Brathwaite at first slip off Stuart Broad – but there could be no complaints about the defeat as Caribbean cricket enjoyed a dramatic reawakening.
With a healthy crowd of over 5,000 on the fifth day, the visitors had been given little or no chance of scoring the 317 more runs they needed.
The pitch was turning and the cloud cover gave England’s pacemen real hope but young Bajans Brathwaite and Hope negotiated the testing conditions superbly.
A mixture of calm defiance combined with judicious attacking frustrated the England bowlers to the point that James Anderson, who had a run-in with opener Kieran Powell, and Stuart Broad, who was warned for kicking the pitch petulantly, became increasingly disgruntled.
This was only the fourth time a pair had registered two century stands together in a single test for the Windies and the first since Brian Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan achieved the feat in 2001.
In 534 first-class matches at Headingley, no batsman had scored a century in both innings – but though Brathwaite missed out, caught at slip off Moeen Ali just before tea for 95, Hope battled on to reach the landmark in 276 minutes.
As the day wore on, Cook’s early miss, dropping Brathwaite, had looked ever more costly and when he spilled Hope after he had scored 106, the game was effectively up for England.
Brathwaite again made the best of his good fortune to mix caution with admirable aggression as he faced 180 balls, striking 12 fours.
Hope remained unfazed and, coming into the last hour with the Windies still needing 47 to win at just over three an over, Blackwood’s unorthodox hitting, including a straight six off Anderson in the first over with the new ball, powered them home.