Spirited efforts from Kavem Hodge and Alick Athanaze led an excellent West Indian batting performance on day two of the second Test against England at Trent Bridge on Friday.

Replying to England’s 416 all out on day one, the West Indians reached 351-5 off 84 overs at stumps on day two, trailing their English counterparts by just 65 runs.

Openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Mikyle Louis got proceedings off to a good start for the West Indies with a 53-run opening partnership despite a testing spell of bowling from Mark Wood which saw him record a delivery at 97.1 miles per hour.

That partnership ended in the 15th over when Louis went caught off the bowling of off-spinner Shoaib Bashir for 21.

The skipper and new batsman Kirk McKenzie put on a further 25 before Brathwaite was next to go in the 22nd over, caught at short leg by Ollie Pope off the bowling of first Test hero Gus Atkinson for a well-played 48, his highest score since a 75 in July 2023 against India in Port-of-Spain.

Then, on the stroke of lunch, McKenzie played an ill-advised shot off the bowling of Bashir to fall for 11 and leave the tourists 84-3 in the 25th over.

The post-lunch session then saw the Dominican pair of Hodge and Athanaze brilliantly navigating some probing bowling from the hosts.

Hodge did have one reprieve when he was dropped by Joe Root off the bowling of Wood in the 42nd over.

The pair carried on to put on 175 for the fourth wicket before Athanaze unfortunately fell 18 runs shy of a well-deserved maiden Test hundred off the bowling of England captain Ben Stokes in the 62nd over.

Hodge went on to bring up an excellent maiden Test ton of his own with a brilliant straight drive for four off Wood.

His hundred came off 143 balls and included 17 fours. He was eventually dismissed by Chris Woakes in the 75th over for 120 off 171 balls.

"It was important we put our heads down and took some info from the England first innings," Hodge told Sky Sports at the end of the day.

"We made use of a good batting track. It feels amazing [to make a century], it is always good to contribute to the team, especially coming off the first Test when we didn't do so well as a batting unit.

On the partnership with Athanaze, he added: "Facing [Mark] Wood, it is not every day you face a guy who bowls every single ball over 90 miles per hour. It was really important we got through that period as it would have been really difficult for a new batter to start against that."

The not out batsmen at the crease at stumps were Joshua Da Silva on 32* and Jason Holder on 23*. The pair have, so far, put on 46 for the sixth wicket.

Shoaib Bashir was England’s most successful bowler on the day with 2-100 from 23 overs.

Full Scores:

England 416 all out off 88.3 overs (Ollie Pope 121, Ben Duckett 71, Ben Stokes 69, Alzarri Joseph 3-98, Kavem Hodge 2-44, Kevin Sinclair 2-73, Jayden Seales 2-90)

West Indies 351-5 off 84 overs (Kavem Hodge 120, Alick Athanaze 82, Kraigg Brathwaite 48, Shoaib Bashir 2-100)

 

 

 

“The guys are ready to go.”

That is the declaration from West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite, as his team targets a significantly improved batting performance in the second Test against England at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

After being hammered by an innings and 114 runs in the opening contest at Lord’s last week, West Indies require a win to not only level the three-match series but, more importantly, to lift their spirits and hopes of pulling off a series win in England for the first time since 1988. Whether they will produce an efficient enough performance to achieve the feat is left to be seen.

The Caribbean side only managed scores of 121 and 136 across both innings, while England only required one innings for their match-winning 371.

Despite that, Brathwaite backed his inexperienced batting line-up to bounce back, as the past few days have harboured much talk about their famous comeback against Australia in Gabba earlier this year.

"Obviously, it is a young team, and playing any Test match would always be a challenge for anyone that’s young. We’ve been here for a number of weeks now, and what is gone is gone. The first defeat is gone, the preparation period is gone, and I think the guys are in very good spirits, and mentally, it’s very important to believe in yourself,” Brathwaite said during a pre-game conference. 

“The guys are ready to go. It’s pretty simple what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to bat a lot better. Obviously, we’ve got to find a way, which we’ve had some discussions around different things we can do better as a team. We’ve just got to put runs on the board. It’s simple,” he added.

Brathwaite takes a break after a training session. (Getty Images)

With only debutant Mikyle Louis (27), Kavem Hodge (24) and Alick Athanaze (23), Jason Holder, and Gudakesh Motie (31) offering very little resistance in the first Test, Brathwaite believes the disappointment should serve as motivation for his team heading into the second encounter.

“We have a motivation – we’ve got to be better than the first Test. The batsmen have to obviously put runs on the board and that’s our focus. I think once we remain disciplined, session by session, build partnerships that will put us in a good position in the overall result of the game. A few guys did get in but didn’t go on,” Brathwaite reasoned.

He continued: “It’s just important that you go on for longer because the longer you bat, the easier it becomes, and it’s important to stay in that plan for as long as possible.  Obviously, you want to put away bad balls – that’s what every batsman wants to do – but it’s that hard work you do for 40 minutes, being able to take that to an hour and two hours.

“It’s a mixture of putting away the bad balls because when you put away the bad balls, it gives you confidence, so we just have to keep learning. I think a lot of learning would’ve taken place in the first Test, and we just have to believe in our ability and do it for longer periods.”

While he has been scrutinised for failing to lead from the front at the top of the order, Brathwaite argued that his lean spell has little to do with his captaincy.

The Barbadian, who is the most experienced player in the team with 90 Tests under his belt, has only tallied a paltry 44 runs in his last six innings.

“I enjoy captaining, I enjoy leading. I’ve been opening my whole life, so when I go out there to bat, it’s always to see off that new ball and be there as long as I can—that’s always my focus. I don’t see it as any added pressure. Yes, at times you don’t get runs, and it can be a little bit tough, but it is important to stay mentally tough and keep believing,” Brathwaite ended.

The West Indies are on the brink of a quick defeat at stumps on day two of the first of three Tests against England at Lord’s.

The tourists ended Thursday 79-6 off 34.5 overs, needing a further 171 runs to force England to bat again.

Similar to the first innings, the West Indian top order failed to impress as Kraigg Brathwaite (4), Kirk McKenzie (0), Mikyle Louis (14) and Kavem Hodge (4) all fell within the first 20 overs of the innings with the West Indies teetering at just 37.

James Anderson celebrating the wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite.

Alick Athanaze was next to go after battling hard for 22 to leave the West Indies 55-5 in the 29th over before Jason Holder and Joshua Da Silva looked set to see out the English bowling for the rest of the day.

This proved not to be the case as Holder became Gus Atkinson’s ninth wicket of his magical debut in the day’s last over for 20 to leave the West Indies 79-6 off 34.5 overs at stumps.

Joshua Da Silva was 8* at the close of play.

James Anderson, Atkinson and skipper Ben Stokes have taken two wickets, each, so far.

Earlier, the hosts progressed to 371 all out off 90 overs after beginning day two 189-3.

Both overnight batsmen, Joe Root and Harry Brook, went on to bring up their fifties.

Root eventually fell for a 114-ball 68 including seven fours while Brook made an even 50 off 64 balls including five fours and a six.

The top scorer on the day, however, was debutant Jamie Smith who hit eight fours and two sixes on his way to a 119-ball 70.

Jamie Smith on his way to 70 on debut.

On his return to the Test arena, Jayden Seales was the pick of the West Indian bowlers with 4-77 from 20 overs.

Gudakesh Motie and Jason Holder provided good support for Seales with 2-41 off 16 overs and 2-58 off 18 overs, respectively.

Full Scores:

West Indies 121 all out off 41.4 overs (Mikyle Louis 27, Gus Atkinson 7-45) & 79-6 off 34.5 overs (Alick Athanaze 22, James Anderson 2-11, Ben Stokes 2-25, Gus Atkinson 2-27)

England 371 all out off 90 overs (Zak Crawley 76, Jamie Smith 70, Joe Root 68, Ollie Pope 57, Harry Brook 50, Jayden Seales 4-77, Gudakesh Motie 2-41, Jason Holder 2-58)

 

Mikyle Louis will open alongside Captain Kraigg Brathwaite for the West Indies in the first Test against England set to start on Wednesday at Lord’s.

Louis, the 23-year-old, comes into the team on the back of a brilliant season for the Leeward Islands in the 2024 West Indies Championship where he scored 682 runs in 14 innings at an average of 49.

He is coming off a first innings half-century in their warm-up game against the County Select XI last week.

Retaining their places in the order are Kirk McKenzie at three, Alick Athanaze at four and Kavem Hodge at five.

McKenzie and Athanaze scored three half-centuries between them in the warm-up fixture last week while Hodge scored a brilliant hundred so all three are coming into the first Test in some good form.

Also making their return to the West Indies test team after missing the Australia series in December are former Captain Jason Holder and young pacer Jayden Seales.

Both Holder and Seales recently enjoyed successful County Championship stints for Worcestershire and Sussex, respectively.

Gudakesh Motie will be the lone spinner in the XI while Holder and Seales will be joined in the pace attack by Alzarri and Shamar Joseph.

Josh a Da Silva also retains his place behind the stumps.

The full XI is as follows: Kraigg Brathwaite (C), Mikyle Louis, Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge, Jason Holder, Joshua Da Silva, Gudakesh Motie, Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph, Shamar Joseph

All-rounder Jason Holder and seamer Jayden Seales are both optimistic that West Indies can deliver an efficient performance to not only better England in their three-match Test series, but more importantly, to offer some semblance of upliftment to the Caribbean, which was recently brushed by Hurricane Beryl.

Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Jamaica are just a few of the islands that faced the wrath of Beryl, and West Indies players are using the setback as motivation to demonstrate the resilience and determination of Caribbean people.

Holder, who reflected on West Indies’ previous tour of England during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, believes the first step to doing their part in assisting to overcome these tough times, is to put their best foot forward in the series, which bowls off at Lord’s on Wednesday.

“The buzz around the T20 World Cup and the success of the recent past has definitely revived the cricketing lives of the people in the Caribbean. I think any bit of spark and encouragement we can give them will be through our performances and that is what we pledged as a group to try and make them as proud as possible in these tough times,” Holder said.