Match Analysis

Kraigg Brathwaite takes pride as West Indies triumph with full team performance

Grenada comes out in force to revel in another famous series win over favourite opponents

Cameron Ponsonby
Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood lead the lap of honour  •  Getty Images

Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood lead the lap of honour  •  Getty Images

One-nil, to the West Ind-ies. One-nil, to the West Ind-ies…
A backs-against-the-wall, hang-in-there-and-grind-the-opposition-down-before-nabbing-it-right-at-the-end victory for the men in maroon. George Graham would approve.
"Very proud," a buoyant Kraigg Brathwaite said at the close, already a couple of sips of champagne down. "My first home series win, so very happy. It was a very, very good series for us. In two hard-fought draws in the first two games I thought England played extremely well and we had to show some fight in the last days of both of those games. But coming here, we ramped it up. It's been a remarkable effort."
It's a series victory that extends a proud record, with West Indies losing just once to England at home in Test cricket since 1968. And even that sole reversal, in 2004, is already 18 years ago, which is as long as England waited between Ashes victories from 1987 to 2005, and longer than they've been made to wait for a series win in any of the other established Test nations bar Pakistan (whom they haven't been to visit for 17 years and counting).
A point of real satisfaction for West Indies on this occasion, however, is that this wasn't just the Jason Holder and Kemar Roach Show but a squad-wide effort. In Nkrumah Bonner, Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood and Joshua Da Silva, there were four separate centurions. Jayden Seales equalled Roach for wickets with 11 apiece and Alzarri Joseph was just one behind. Kyle Mayers and Veerasammy Permaul took more wickets than Holder despite both playing fewer matches. The West Indies rallied. And rallied together.
"I believe this is the start," Brathwaite said. "But we can't become complacent. We have got to keep learning, keep improving. That is one thing with the youngsters in the team - Joshua, Jayden, Alzarri - they are willing to listen. That is the only way to get better, Jason Holder and Kemar Roach and Jermaine Blackwood really leading the way, and the guys learnt a lot on the job. I think it's the start and we have to continue to work hard."
But if there was one man to laud with praise and whom without the series result would have been reversed, it was Brathwaite himself. With 341 runs at an average of 85.25, Brathwaite faced 901 deliveries across the series with Joe Root the next highest having faced 565. It was fitting therefore, that from the 901st and final delivery he did face, he struck the winning runs.
"Yeah that felt well," Brathwaite smiled in reflection as he pondered both the winning runs and the question of whether this had been his best-ever series with the bat. "Really good. Very happy that as a team we came out on top. It's close, to be honest. And it very well may be. As a three-match series it was one of my best."
This is an incredibly likeable side who clearly enjoy playing for one another. And while Brathwaite may now be the captain, former skipper Holder remains a willing lieutenant whose energy in the field and role as a leader is still apparent.
Before the series began with Brathwaite doing his media rounds, Holder was perched behind the press pack pretending to film and attempting to get a laugh out of a stony-faced skipper. Whenever a dull moment occurred on the pitch, he would leap into action and lead the team in "Simon Says" activities of high knees or heel flicks. Viewers at home will have also heard his constant encouragement throughout the series. And that's not even through the stump mic. The man's voice just carries across the Atlantic.
The relentless support on the pitch was matched off it here in Grenada and it was fitting that the Windies sealed the series in front of the first raucous home crowd of the tour. Steel bands were constant and chants of "London Bridge is falling down" regularly came from the stone-stepped party stand to the left, and only ever really petered out due to laughter rather than exhaustion. And for all the noise from the thousands in attendance, one man's voice rose above all. We'll never know his name, but Party Stand Pete has a certain ring to it.
What Pete lacked in variation he made up for in consistency. Yelling "pressure, pressure" with a clap that could set off landslides if he wasn't careful. This went on for the best part of three days with his advice strong and inarguable at all times. Never more so than when the Windies were in the depths of 95 for 6 late on day two.
"One ball at a time. *clap* Take your time. *clap* But remember! *clap* When you get the bad ball? *clap* Punish it!"
It was a level of support that did not go unnoticed by the Windies team, with Brathwaite commenting on the strength of the home fans at the end of the game.
"It was remarkable to see how many Grenadians came out to support us," he said of the crowd in general, but hopefully of PSP in particular. "So I just want to say thank you to them.
"We enjoyed it. Obviously we won the decider. The crowds in Barbados and Antigua weren't bad but Grenada fans really came out. They don't get much cricket here so it'll be nice to see one or two more [Tests] out here."
And if there's one thing you can be sure of as the Windies celebrate their victory long into the night on the Grand Anse beach, it's that Pete couldn't agree more.

Cameron Ponsonby is a freelance cricket writer in London. @cameronponsonby