There's Hope yet for the West Indies as they silence the doubters
Tourists hit back against England with thrilling victory in second Test at Headingley
West Indies produced one of the most remarkable turnarounds in recent cricketing history to win the second Test against England at Headingley by five wickets.
It was their first Test victory in England since 2000 and a result no one predicted after their humiliation last week at Edgbaston when they were thrashed within three days.
The tourists were overjoyed with the win, not just because it levels the series with the decider to come at Lord's on September 7, but also because it embarrasses numerous pundits who rubbished their reputation after the first Test.
No one was quite as vitriolic in his assessment of that performance at Edgbaston as Geoff Boycott, the BBC commentator who said it gave him no pleasure to describe the West Indies as "the worst Test team I have seen in over 50 years".
Declaring that the tourists could neither bat nor bowl, Boycott added: "It is just sad to see a once-proud cricket Test team lower than any I have ever seen before."
The West Indies, who were brutally honest in acknowledging the feebleness of their first Test performance, had little time to address their deficiencies but whatever was said within their dressing room had the desired effect.
"After the kicking we got at Edgbaston to get the boys back up and looking forward and then to achieve what they've done in the last five days was huge," said coach Stuart Law.
"It takes a lot of character to come out after the beating we got to beat the same side, especially in seam friendly conditions."
Law refrained from gloating over the likes of Boycott, saying only that the win "put a lot of doubters out there to bed".
Law couldn't speak highly enough of Shai Hope, who not only guided the Windies to their triumph but in doing so became the first man to score a century in both innings of a first-class match at Headingley.
Having scored 147 in the first innings, Hope struck an unbeaten 118 in the second as the tourists chased down England's target of 322. He was helped in his heroics by Kraigg Brathwaite, who scored 95, and a quickfire 41 in 45 balls from Jermaine Blackwood.
England captain Joe Root was criticised in some quarters for his decision to declare England's second innings on 490 for 8, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and the skipper said he had no regrets about what he did on Monday evening.
"The declaration was a positive thing to do, we want to win Test matches, when you get the opportunity to try and win you take it," said Root.
"At no point were we complacent in the game. I'm really proud of the effort we showed to get in a position to win, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be today."
Looking ahead to the decider on Thursday week, Root said: "If we're being honest we weren't good enough first up with the bat and we need to make sure we learn those lessons and turn up at Lord's to make sure we're at it to win the series."
Worryingly for England, man of the match Shai Hope was also talking about room for improvement between now and the third Test. "I am elated," he said, on receiving his award. "I made my way to Test level and always believed in myself. My aim is to kick on and improve."