LEEDS, England, CMC – Shai Hope’s astonishing batting at Headingley during the second Test has drawn unreserved praise from West Indies captain Jason Holder and vice captain Kraigg Brathwaite.
Holder and Brathwaite were teammates of Hope at age-group levels in Barbados and also played first class cricket together for Barbados Pride team, and watched him emerge into one of the Caribbean’s leading young players.
The 23-year-old Hope announced himself on the world stage with two astounding knocks of 147 and 118 not out to secure one the greatest comeback in sports this century as West Indies stunned England by five wickets on the final day on Tuesday.
“We were underdogs and to come here and perform this way to level the series is truly amazing, and credit must go to this man here, Shai Hope,” Holder said after the victory.
“What a performance – peaking at the right time – to put the team on your shoulders and take us to victory. Truly something memorable, truly something to cherish.”
He added: “The team is already looking forward to the decider at Lord’s. For many of us it’s a childhood dream to play a Test match at Lord’s and to come into Lord’s with a chance of winning the series.
“Remember the first press conference we had people asked what are our chances. I gave us the same chances that England probably gave themselves to win the series and that’s what we set out to do.
“It doesn’t always happen that way but the main thing for us is to keep progressing as a side and I think we’re showing that.”
Hope shared a record partnership of 246 with Brathwaite in the first innings and another century stand in the second innings. Brathwaite helped to set up the victory with 134 in the first innings and 95 in the second innings.
Last year when the Windies beat Pakistan in Sharjah, Brathwaite was again at the helm with scores of 146 not out and 62 not out.
“Shai played really, really well. What was truly remarkable was the fact that he made his first Test century and then converted again in the second innings. We always knew he had it in him to do well at Test level and he proved it in this match,” Brathwaite said.
“We batted well together, we always bat well together, we understand each other and we offer support to each other. What was special about this match was the fact that we got runs, and we were able to help the team to victory.
“It was a special match for us as a team. The bowlers were magnificent and as batsmen we had to make sure that the hard work paid off. We are very focussed and want to win at Lord’s and take the series. We know it can be done.”
Hope became the first batsman to score two centuries in a first-class match at Headingley – coming in the 534th first-class match at the venue and 76th Test match. He became the third West Indian to achieve the feat of twin tons in a Test in England – the others being the legendary George Headley at Lord’s in 1939, and Gordon Greenidge at Old Trafford in 1976.
The chase was also the highest by the Windies in England since the memorable nine-wicket win at Lord’s in 1984 and the victory the first in England since 2000.