August 29, 2017 / 12:48 PM / a month ago

Cricket-Defiant Brathwaite stalls England's victory push at Leeds

LONDON, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Kraigg Brathwaite was again proving a real thorn in England’s side as they reduced the West Indies to 86 for two in their pursuit of an unlikely target of 322 to win an engrossing second test at Headingley on Tuesday.

On a testing final morning for the visitors’ batsmen, the West Indies’ first innings centurions, Brathwaite and Shai Hope, were still battling on a turning pitch to provide the visitors with hope of an outlandish win.

All four results were still possible, with the visitors needing another 236 for victory, with eight wickets still intact but conditions favouring the England bowlers.

Brathwaite survived a dropped chance, spilled by Alastair Cook at first slip off Stuart Broad with the Windies 11 without loss, to remain unbeaten on 49 at the break.

Openers Brathwaite and Kieran Powell had demonstrated real resilience to survive a tough examination from England’s senior pacemen on a cloudy morning in Leeds before Broad had the left-hander caught for 23 by Ben Stokes at fourth slip.

West Indies’ resistance was then further weakened by the most unfortunate of dismissals for Kyle Hope, who was run out for a duck at the non-striker’s end.

Broad dropped a fierce drive from Brathwaite only for the ball to deflect off the bowler’s knee and cannon into the middle stump, leaving Hope stranded.

Yet Brathwaite, who had been so dogged in his 249-ball first innings stay, again made the best of his good fortune with the Cook drop to mix caution with admirable aggression as he struck seven boundaries from 95 balls faced.

He had shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 246 with the talented younger Hope brother in the first innings and the pair again gelled nicely, adding an unbroken 33 for the third wicket in the run-up to lunch. (Reporting by Ian Chadband,; Editing by Neville Dalton)

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