England 514 for 8 dec (Cook 243, Root 136) beat West Indies 168 (Blackwood 79*, Anderson 3-34) and 137 (Brathwaite 40, Broad 3-34) by an innings and 209 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details.
A historic Test match was dealt a humiliating conclusion under the Edgbaston floodlights, as West Indies crumbled to one of the most spineless defeats in their long and once-proud history. By losing 19 wickets for 261 runs in the space of 76.4 overs, they were shot out twice in the day for scores of 168 and 137, the margin of their innings defeat – 209 – still greater than either of their efforts with the bat.
For the record, James Anderson, with 3 for 34, was the pick of England’s bowlers in the first innings, while Stuart Broadclaimed identical figures to be the star performer in the second. In crushing West Indies’ middle order with a spell of 3 for 4 in 11 balls after tea, Broad surged past Ian Botham’s tally of 383 Test wickets to claim second place behind Anderson on England’s all-time list. Not since Trueman and Statham were last in harness in 1963 had both chart-toppers been present in the same England team, and Anderson, who now has 491 to his name, must fancy his chances of ticking off another remarkable milestone in next week’s second Test at Headingley.
But frankly, any of England’s bowlers could have taken the top billing in this contest. Only Jermaine Blackwood, with a defiant and at times bombastic 79 not out in the first innings, and Kraigg Brathwaite, with a sheet-anchor 40 in the second, found any means to resist an attack that used the conditions well but were never required to stretch themselves to assert their authority.
In the absence of any meaningful contest out in the middle, the fancy-dressed hordes in the Hollies Stand settled for making their own entertainment – most notably during the afternoon, when their entire focus turned from the pink ball in the middle to a black-and-white inflatable version that had been confiscated by a steward. They eventually got their ball back, to a huge cheer. West Indies’ bowlers, on the other hand, never got close to being called upon again.
An air of farce hung over the day from the moment of the first delivery, which Anderson sent down at 1.30pm – half-an-hour earlier than scheduled due to the rain on the second evening. And yet, no sooner had the ball left his hand than the heavens opened and the players fled the field. But far from being the start of a great West Indian escape, it merely postponed the inevitable as far as Anderson was concerned. With his fifth ball of the resumption, he found wicked lift from a good length for Ben Stokes in the gully to snaffle a spliced edge. Kyle Hope, who had hung around with rare intent on the second afternoon, was gone without addition.
It was the beginning of the end and the day had barely begun. At precisely the same time, a few miles up the M6, Manchester United were busy smashing three goals in five minutes to see off the challenge of Swansea City, and it’s hard to say which trio came thicker and faster as West Indies’ wickets tumbled like stricken defenders. Kieran Powell ran himself out in the next over, pinged out by a direct hit from Anderson at mid-off, before Roston Chase was beaten by an Anderson nipbacker and bowled off the inside edge for an 11-ball duck.
At 47 for 4, Blackwood and Shai Hope came out swinging, but Hope in particular never looked like enduring. A fat-inside edge off Toby Roland-Jones smashed his stumps for 15, and Roland-Jones doubled his tally when Shane Dowrich attempted a shockingly ill-advised clip through the leg-side that missed his bat by a mile and pinned him dead in front of middle.
Jason Holder played a futile game of waft-and-miss against the offspin of Moeen Ali – a thin edge to the keeper, revealed on review, was the inevitable upshot – and when Kemar Roach missed a drive at Broad to lose his off stump for 5, West Indies had lost seven wickets for 101 in the morning session alone.
It was abject and dispiriting, but at least Blackwood could hold his head high. With the sort of calypso flourish that seems almost poignantly rare these days, he bashed his way to a 49-ball fifty, including two eye-catching sixes off Moeen, and had made it 79 from 76 before he ran out of partners. Alzarri Joseph hung around as best he could, enduring for 17 balls before Broad thumped his pads to send him on his way lbw for 6. And then, with a century just about in his sights, Blackwood attempted desperately to keep the strike at the end of Anderson’s 15th over, but Tom Westley at midwicket beat the floundering Miguel Cummins with a direct hit.
Joe Root immediately signalled to the West Indies dressing room that they should get their pads back on, and it took Anderson until his third over to get back in the wickets, as Powell fenced to Alastair Cook at slip for 10. All Hope was lost when Kyle and Shai fell in quick succession to Roland-Jones and Stokes respectively, and though Brathwaite bedded in with dignity, he too joined the procession on the stroke of tea as he played back to Moeen to be adjudged lbw on review.
After that, it was a question of when, not if, the match would be over in the space of three days. Blackwood’s charge-and-miss against Moeen confirmed that he wouldn’t be the one delaying matters for a second time, while Broad made damn sure of a day on the golf course with a surgical strike on the lower middle order. Dowrich and the hapless Holder – a distracted figure throughout a desperate contest – fell in consecutive deliveries before Roach just about prevented Broad from claiming a hat-trick of hat-tricks.
Victory was duly sealed at 8.56pm when Roland-Jones had Joseph caught at third slip by Stokes for 8. It was, technically, the latest finish to a Test match in English history, but it was an early bath in every other respect. Even in an era of slim pickings for the longest format, Test matches are rarely this mismatched.