England ended their troubled Test tour of the West Indies with a thumping win, sealing victory by 232 runs on day four in St Lucia.
Joe Root’s side surrendered the Wisden Trophy after defeats in Barbados and Antigua but averted the humiliation of a whitewash after bowling the hosts out for 252 in pursuit of 485.
James Anderson reduced the Windies to 10 for three with a clinical new-ball spell and spinner Moeen Ali picked up three of his own but Roston Chase delayed the celebrations with a fine 102 not out.
Root had declared in the morning on 361 for five immediately after falling for 122. The successful bowler was Shannon Gabriel, later charged by the International Cricket Council for comments made to the England captain during his innings on day three.
Root responded to inaudible outburst from Gabriel by saying “don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay” and umpires Rod Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena followed up their initial verbal warning by laying a formal charge, to be adjudicated my match referee Jeff Crowe.
Gabriel was booed by sections of the England fans, while his arrival at the crease was greeted with songs including Erasure’s “A Little Respect” and “It’s Raining Men”.
Once Root’s early declaration was in, a well rested Anderson had the chance to test the resolve of a batting side facing mountainous odds. Test cricket’s most prolific seamer had taken five wickets in the first innings of the series but only two more in his next 57 overs.
Anyone looking for an early sign of his appetite for more found it in the first ball of the chase, which sailed through the vacant fourth slip via a waft of Kraigg Brathwaite’s bat. The 36-year-old’s frustration was only fleeting, with John Campbell next to succumb just two balls later.
It still took a sensational catch to complete the dismissal, Moeen leaping one handed in the gully in what must have been a contender for his career-best effort. Brathwaite’s second life lasted little more than an over before he prodded at an Anderson delivery that held its line and Ben Stokes held on after a juggle.
Anderson was beating the bat on at will and soon lined up Darren Bravo, batting despite the finger injury which kept him off the field during day three. He banked an 11-ball duck, feeling for one that slanted across him and feeding Root at head height.
Stuart Broad did not enjoy the same support from the cordon, missing out on Shai Hope for nought when Jos Buttler put down his third regulation chance in two games. That took his tally to 10 since his Test recall last summer and only great athleticism saw that move to 11 later, a one-handed reaction effort failing to stick.
England’s first-innings hero Mark Wood entered the fray in the 12th over he had enough pace to pick off Hope, fending off the back foot. The Windies limped to lunch on 35 for four, still the small matter of 450 short. It looked a perfect recipe for collapse but Chase was willing and able to lead the defence.
He joined with Shimron Hetmyer either side of lunch and the pair showed enough resilience to put on 45 in 96 balls before a mis-judged run sent the latter packing.
Chase had already picked up two from a Wood full toss when the pair took on Joe Denly’s arm and left Hetymer well short of his ground as Jonny Bairstow took the stumps.
Chase and Shane Dowrich put on another 34 before Moeen had the latter caught at slip, Stokes this time hanging on with the crook of his elbow. Rory Burns spared Kemar Roach when he spilled a dolly at mid-off and the tailender aided Chase in adding 46 more to the tally before gifting Moeen a second success.
Gabriel lasted 23 balls before Stokes ended his innings – and the away fans’ colourful song selections. The injured Keemo Paul limped out to help Chase past three figures before he was last man out to Stokes.