Antigua March 13 2022: West Indies safely batted out the final day as the first Test against England ended in a draw at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
A rapid start to the day saw England add 132 in the morning session, with Joe Root reaching his 24th Test century along the way.
And an aggressive declaration meant that West Indies had a little over two sessions to survive, with a target of 286 realistically out of reach.
Jack Leach took three wickets as England pushed hard on a flat pitch throughout the remainder of the day, but a backs-to-the-wall fifth-wicket partnership between Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder removed the threat of a loss as the match meandered to a draw.
England had resumed on 217/1 and immediately showed their intent as Zak Crawley took the attack to the West Indies bowlers.
A fizzing yorker from Holder did the job on Crawley after his quick start, who walked off with 121 to his name, but new batter Dan Lawrence kept the foot down right from the off.
The England number four hit five boundaries, including a maximum, in his sparkling knock of 37 from just 36 deliveries as the lead grew at a rapid rate, with a declaration in mind.
And at the other end captain Root serenely made it to his century, adding the 16 runs he required to make it 24 hundreds in his Test career and a significant one given his move up to number three for this series.
England’s aggressive approach with the bat saw wickets fall quickly, with Lawrence (37), Root (109), Ben Stokes (13) and Ben Foakes (1) all sent back as five wickets fell in the space of 15 overs.
But 132 runs came from the selfless approach from England, and the declaration came 20 minutes before lunch with the score at 349/6, with Jonny Bairstow (15*) and Chris Woakes (18*) beckoned in by their captain.
England knew they were without the services of Mark Wood for the entirety of the second innings due to his elbow injury, and immediately turned to Leach to lead the attack, with Woakes taking the new ball from the other end.
But wickets had been hard to come by throughout the first Test on a relatively docile pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, and openers Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell saw it through until lunch unscathed.
The opening pair seemed to have taken the sting out of the game as they made it to the 25-over mark at 59 without loss, scoring at a rate which showed they knew a successful run-chase was off the table.
Yet two wickets in two overs game England a sniff, with Stokes trapping Brathwaite lbw for 33 and Leach picking up his first wicket of the innings as he lured Campbell into a rare attacking shot that was grabbed by Craig Overton at mid-off.
Leach was the danger-man for England, and picked up two wickets in two overs when he had Sharmah Brooks caught at slip and Jermaine Blackwood out lbw.
And with men around the bat and recognised batters running out, the pressure was on the West Indies.
But Bonner, the century-maker from the West Indies, bedded in alongside Holder, and the chance of a positive result for England drifted away as the overs ticked past.
And, with just five of the day’s allocated deliveries remaining, Root opted to shake hands with West Indies marooned at 147/4, leaving the series all-square after one.
Leach finished with figures of 3/57 from 30.1 overs, with Holder unbeaten on 37 from 101 deliveries and Bonner not out on 38 from 138 balls.
The teams will travel to Barbados for the second Test, which starts at the Kensington Oval on Wednesday.