Joshua Da Silva scored a brilliant hundreds and Kyle Mayers scored a five-wicket pull on day three of Saturday’s crucial Test in Grenada to put the West Indies on the brink of a stunning victory over England.
Da Silva’s first hundred in Test cricket helped West Indies accumulate 297 points in the first innings, with the wicketkeeper contesting the strike throughout the morning session before hitting his ton just before lunch.
England were just 10 runs up in their second innings with two wickets in hand, ending 103 for eight.
The 23-year-old wiped away tears as he celebrated his debut century with teammate and friend Jayden Seales at center, and his outstanding rearguard performance helped give his team a 93-run lead in the first innings.
Exceptional second innings numbers from Kyle Mayers.
— ICC (@ICC) March 26, 2022
And Mayers was the architect of a stunning bowling performance by the home side as England collapsed to 103/8, leaving them on the brink of another series loss.
Mayers ended the day on numbers of 5/9, his casualties included England captain Joe Root. Mayers also picked up 2/13 in the first innings, giving him 7/22 overall match numbers.
West Indies were back on the third morning with a 28 lead and England’s chances to finish the innings quickly looked good when Mahmood caught Kemar Roach in the leg with a short ball, Roach failing to increase his 25th point tally overnight .
But lower order runs were the theme of this Grenada Test and, just like in England’s first innings, partnerships for wickets nine and ten ended up producing the most runs for the West Indies.
Jayden Seales was the limpet that England just couldn’t budge and the number 11 dug in as Da Silva tried to milk the punch.
And together the pair added 52 runs for the final wicket as England’s struggling attack struggled throughout the morning session.
The final runs of the morning, and, as it turned out, the final runs of the innings, came from a Da Silva smack to the floor to the long limit. It was that very shot that brought the wicketkeeper’s hundred and the celebrations began when the ball was barely halfway to the boundary.
An emotional Da Silva broke down in tears as he celebrated the milestone, his first ton in his 14th Test appearance for the West Indies.
There was to be another topic of conversation from an extended morning session, with Da Silva walking away for a nod behind the next delivery after hitting his century, and revisited almost as an afterthought.
However, replays showed the ball had hit the thigh pad rather than the inside edge, leading to the unusual sight of both batsmen and the entire fielding team returning to the field when the decision was overturned by DRS.
The innings and first session ended on the next over as Seales chipped back 13 on 59 balls against Joe Root while Da Silva finished unbeaten with 100*, eyes still tearing.
Da Silva’s brilliance meant the last four West Indies wickets had contributed 202 runs to a total of 297, putting the hosts in an advantageous position in the game after looking vulnerable at 95/6.
Down 93 runs, England headed into their second inning after lunch. But any thoughts of closing the deficit and building a potentially match-winning result quickly faded when Zak Crawley threw an attempted booming drive in the fourth over.
And Mayers, as he had done in the first English innings, tore through the top order.
The all-rounder first snatched the deciding wicket from Root for another single-digit score (5), and scalps from Dan Lawrence (0) and Ben Stokes (4) soon followed.
Mayers had returned two wickets for zero runs from the first spell from five overs in the first innings and his performance in the second innings was hardly less impressive as the 29-year-old played with three for seven of seven overs on the tea break to complete the game Tearing heart out of the English batting lineup.
England were 43/4 at the break and still trailing by 50 runs.
A stubborn 148-ball partnership between opening player Alex Lees and Jonny Bairstow threatened to take the sting out of the day as England attempted to rebuild in the evening session.
But when Bairstow hit back for 22 against Alzarri Joseph, it triggered another mini-collapse.
Ben Foakes, who had just four balls in his stroke, picked up Mayers’ arm on the boundary and came out second best as he attempted a second run, running out well short of his bottom.
And Lees’ long effort ended when the majestic Mayers struck again and cleaned him up for 31, with Root seen head in hands on the England balcony as another loss in the series drew near.
Mayers completed his five when he tricked Craig Overton into a careless shot to the outside and got straight to Jason Holder.