1st Test, North Sound, March 08 - 12, 2022, England tour of West Indies
311 & 349/6d
(T:286) 375 & 147/4

Match drawn

Player Of The Match
123 & 38*

Zak Crawley century, Joe Root fifty drive England into final day

West Indies toil during unbroken 193-run second-wicket stand but rain cuts further time from the game

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Zak Crawley celebrates reaching his century, West Indies vs England, 1st Test, Antigua, 4th day, March 11, 2022

Zak Crawley celebrates reaching his century  •  Gareth Copley/Getty Images

England 311 and 217 for 1 (Crawley 117*, Root 84*) lead West Indies 375 (Bonner 123, Brathwaite 55) by 153 runs
Joe Root looked genuinely impressed by what he was seeing. As Zak Crawley drove Kemar Roach down the ground for a boundary - not exactly sweetly struck but with the momentum of his considerable levers behind it - the England captain met him in the middle of the pitch for a couple of fist-bumps and approving nods, chattering away in encouragement and eliciting a broad grin from his young charge.
Given that it was boundary number eight of 16 and counting for Crawley, who was compiling the second Test century of his career, the exchange may not have been unusual but in the circumstances, it stood out.
After a dirty day three when Root more commonly wore a look of anguish as his attack failed to capitalise on prior opportunity, not to mention a tumultuous start to the year, England turned the tables on West Indies with an unbroken second-wicket stand in Antigua worth 193, a century and fifty so far to its protagonists and a 153-run lead heading into the final day.
The hosts failed to make further inroads after Roach removed debutant opener Alex Lees, lbw in single figures for the second time in the match, to put the tourists at 24 for 1, still 40 runs in arrears.
On a pitch that had admittedly offered nothing for the bowlers all match, the West Indies bowlers leaked runs, Veerasammy Permaul particularly expensive in conceding 51 off his 10 overs.
Fellow left-arm spinner Jack Leach, meanwhile, had been one of the brighter lights for England, bowling 20 maidens - almost half his overs - as he took 2 for 79, including West Indies' last wicket with the third ball of the day as the hosts took a 64-run first-innings lead.
Quick Jayden Seales was the man dismissed, and he did not enjoy much more success with the ball, 12 wicketless overs costing 51 runs.
But Roach, who was getting considerable swing with the new ball on the fourth morning, set Lees up with a series of deliveries that moved away from the left-hander before banging one in full and straight to beat the inside edge and slam into the front pad. Lees reviewed, perhaps in hope after seeing Crawley successfully overturn an lbw decision from umpire Gregory Brathwaite in the first over, only to have it confirmed that the ball was crashing into leg stump.
Crawley was yet to score when he was reprieved the first time, with Hawk-Eye showing the ball was missing leg stump by some way. He had moved to 18 when West Indies burned a review shortly after Lees' dismissal, Crawley adjudged not out to a Roach inswinger that hit him high on the back leg outside off stump.
He had to wait out a 10-minute rain delay and Alzarri Joseph maidens either side of it on 49 before he regained the strike from Root and flipped Roach off his hip for a single to bring up his fifty off 100 balls. Crawley peeled off his next fifty from 81 balls as he and Root hit full flow and West Indies floundered for ideas despite trying seven different bowling options.
Caught behind off Seales for just 8 in the first innings, Crawley tightened up his defence but played expansively where it was warranted, pulling the short ball with authority, cutting anything wide and finding the boundary with the sweep and drive also.
Root raised his half-century late in the afternoon session with a four off Permaul through third, and Crawley survived a hearty shout by West Indies, thinking he'd been caught at slip off the spinner, but for replays to show he had edged the ball into the pitch before it bobbed up to the fielder.
Having scored 267 against Pakistan at Southampton in August 2020, his eighth Test, Crawley had made 12 single-figure scores - including two ducks - in 21 innings since.
Called back into the side for the first time since the English summer for the last three Ashes Tests when England initially dropped Rory Burns and then Haseeb Hameed, Crawley scored a second-innings 77 in Sydney and survived the post-series clear-out, which also saw Lees called up to accompany him at the top of the order.
Just like 19 months before, Crawley again lived up to the potential that put him there as he and Root gave England something to smile about before the intermittent rain that had punctuated play briefly a few times set in.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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