After the first four Tests of a draining, seesawing series, the decider seemed to hinge as much on who had more left in the tank as on cricketing skill. Only 18 wickets fell across 444 overs during the fourth Test in Antigua, and India, who had bowled second and bowled 248 overs - with Anil Kumble injured and off the field for the bulk of them - were running on fumes by the time they got to Sabina Park. They chose to bowl first on a greentop, but couldn't make use of the conditions, and Wavell Hinds and Chris Gayle punished them with a century stand that laid the platform for a total of 422. Mervyn Dillon, Cameron Cuffy, Pedro Collins and Adam Sanford formed one of the least nightmare-inducing pace quartets in West Indies' history, but they bowled with verve and discipline to secure a match-winning 210-run lead. It was a matter of time, but the weather threatened to dampen their party. The start of the final morning was delayed, but rain kept away for just long enough for West Indies to secure the series win; half an hour after they'd taken the final wicket, a torrential deluge, which would last 11 straight days, enveloped all of Jamaica.
Steve Waugh's mighty Australia had won 12 of their previous 14 Tests before touring the West Indies in April 2003. West Indies, meanwhile, were a side in decline. The series was going to script, with Australia winning the first three Tests and threatening a clean sweep in Antigua. The teams were level on first-innings score, but once Australia got 417 in the second innings and reduced West Indies to 74 for 3, the result seemed a foregone conclusion. Ramnaresh Sarwan kept his cool through an infamous verbal exchange with Glenn McGrath to get a hundred, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul played some sizzling shots in his own century to make West Indies favourites. There was more drama on the fifth day, though, when Chanderpaul was dismissed early, leaving 46 still left to get and just three wickets in hand. Seam bowlers Omari Banks and Vasbert Drakes showed remarkable concentration to complete the win, which remains West Indies' only Test win against Australia this century.
This was a fast bowlers' Test over the first three innings, which produced totals of 208, 191 and 194, five-wicket hauls for the slingy Fidel Edwards, on debut, and the fast and erratic Prabath Nissanka, and a seven-wicket haul for the accurate Corey Collymore. Then, with West Indies set a seemingly tricky target of 212, with Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan to contend with, the script changed abruptly. Ramnaresh Sarwan coasted to 82 off 110 balls, and Brian Lara cracked an unbeaten 80 off 90, as West Indies romped to victory at nearly five runs an over. The unfortunate Nissanka bore the brunt of the punishment, conceding 64 in eight overs, as Sri Lanka's hopes of a maiden Test and series win in the Caribbean went up in smoke.
West Indies hadn't won a single Test out of their last 20. They'd never won a Test in South Africa and had lost eight of their nine previous Tests in the country. No one expected a thing from them. They had a new captain, though, in Chris Gayle, and he made the earliest and loudest statement he could possibly have made, tonking 66 off 49 balls after South Africa chose to bowl first. That was followed by more substantial contributions from Marlon Samuels (94) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (104), and West Indies posted a more than competitive 408. Then they were in dreamland, three wickets each from Jerome Taylor and Daren Powell and a tail-mopping four-for from Dwayne Bravo securing a 213-run lead. South Africa bowled a whole lot better in the second innings than they had on an erratic first day, but that still left them chasing 389, and that was just too steep a task, despite the best efforts of Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers.
After winning the first Test comfortably, West Indies were under the pump in the second. New Zealand only made 260 after being sent in, but they had four fast bowlers and had reduced the hosts to 17 for 2 when Marlon Samuels walked in. Wickets kept falling at the other end - it was 113 for 6 at one stage - but Samuels kept playing his shots, scoring 45 of the 47 runs that the last three wickets contributed to West Indies' total, and finished with 123 off 169 balls.
In the entire history of Test cricket, only one opening batter has batted twice in a Test match and finished not-out both times. In a Test match in which 35 wickets fell for 28 runs apiece, Kraigg Brathwaite batted twice and faced 429 balls without being dismissed. First, he carried his bat and scored 142 to guide West Indies to a 56-run lead. Then he made 60 to ensure they got to their target of 153 with five wickets in hand. All this to lead West Indies to their first away win, outside of Bangladesh, in almost nine years.
West Indies had not won a Test in England since 2000 when they toured there in 2017, and there was nothing in the first Test, at Edgbaston, to suggest that record would change - England had won by an innings and 209 runs after bowling West Indies out twice for less than 200. The visitors showed some resilience at Headingley, with young batters Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope scoring centuries to build a first-innings total of 427 in response to England's 258. England seemed to take over in the second innings, and when they declared 321 runs ahead towards the end of the fourth day, it seemed only two results were possible: an England win or a draw. But Brathwaite and Hope showed their first-innings knocks were no flukes, putting on 144 for the third wicket at a decent run rate. Hope went on to get his second hundred of the game, and Jermaine Blackwood got 41 off 45 balls, as the asking rate was rising, to complete the win.
A three-day win in which England were bowled out in 42.1 overs in the second innings drew ire from the British press, who considered their side favourites going into the series. But for West Indies, it was proof that they were developing a pace attack that may not have been as feared as those in the past but could still be quite effective. Roach grabbed the headlines with four wickets in each innings, while Jason Holder bowled a nagging line and length. West Indies had beaten England by 381 runs in the first Test of the series. The win in Antigua gave them one of their most significant series wins in recent times, with a Test to spare.
Another big fourth-innings chase, another inexperienced batter making a name for himself. Kyle Mayers was on debut in the first Test of West Indies' 2021 tour of Bangladesh and came in at 59 for 3 in the second innings with West Indies needing 395 to win. Batting aggressively right from the start, Mayers scored 210 not out to complete the fifth-biggest chase in Test history. What made the result even more remarkable for West Indies was that they were missing a number of their first-choice players who had chosen not to travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner, another debutant, may not even have been in the XI if everyone was available, but they put on 216 for the fourth wicket in the chase. Once Bonner was out for 86, Mayers went on an all-out attack, hitting seven sixes in all. It seemed such an unlikely result after Bangladesh, who had swept West Indies 2-0 on their last tour, took a 171-run first-innings lead and then declared their second innings eight down with just over four sessions left. West Indies rode on the momentum and completed a 2-0 series win with another memorable victory in Dhaka.
It seemed like there was nothing to separate West Indies and Pakistan as they battled for four tense days at Sabina Park. After bowling Pakistan out for 217, West Indies had taken a slender first-innings lead thanks to a 96-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Brathwaite and Jason Holder. Jayden Seales, an exciting 19-year-old quick, picked up five wickets in the second innings to help bowl the visitors out for 203 and leave West Indies 168 to win. That target began to look miles away as wickets fell regularly on day four. A half-century from Blackwood helped the hosts recover from 16 for 3, but then four wickets fell for 30 runs to heap the pressure back on them. Roach got 30 not out from No. 9 and needed Seales to help with the bat as well. The young quick stuck around for 13 balls to allow Roach to score the winning runs.