Former English skipper Michael Atherton is of the opinion that West Indies’ rare victory in the 2nd Test against England at Headingley is the biggest upset in the history of cricket in the recent past.
Riding on the back of centuries in both innings by Shai Hope, the Windies made a dramatic comeback after losing the opening Test by an innings & 209 runs, as the visitors levelled the series one-all with a match still to go.
Atherton in his column for the Times said the English fans would have hoped for an easy victory and instead they had to witness,
“A resurrection… Of a once proud cricketing nation fallen on hard times. It was one of the great modern Test matches, one that produced a truly astonishing result,” he added.
“In my time watching, playing and commentating on Test cricket I cannot think of a bigger upset when taking into account the low expectations for a team with a horrendous away record who had subsided to a three-day defeat only the week before. No one gave West Indies a prayer before the match, nor before the last day,” Atherton said.
It was the first Test victory for Windies on the English soil after a gap of 17 years, and only their 4th Test win away from home barring Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in the last 20 years. Shai Hope who was the main force behind guiding the visitors to a remarkable victory became the first man to score twin centuries in the 127-year history of Trent Bridge, Headingley.
Atherton also feels that Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite who stitched together two partnerships which yielded a total of 390 runs can help Windies recover their global standing in World Cricket.
“These two players, 24 and 23 years of age respectively, represent the future of West Indies cricket and, on this evidence, greener pastures lie ahead,” Atherton wrote.
“Brathwaite will become a high-class accumulator, but Hope has the chance to be even better than that, stylish and fluent as he is.
“He has always been known for eye-catching shots but, here, in the course of two innings, he became a Test match batsman in the round, attaching those shots to a cast-iron defence and a commitment to lasting the course,” Atherton signed off.