Google “the miracle of Headingley” and a long list of stories about England’s remarkable 1981 victory over Australia comes up. Already trailing 0-1 in the series, England were following on 227-runs behind and had lost five wickets for just 105 runs when Ian Botham made his way to the middle. A few hours of the most bellicose hitting later, England’s innings closed at 356 with Botham unbeaten on 149. Bob Willis then produced the spell of his life, capturing 8/43 and dismissing Australia for 111. England won by 18 runs to level the series.

A few days ago, Headingley hosted another miracle. England had utterly thrashed West Indies in the first Test at Egbaston, defeating them by the huge margin of an innings and 209-runs. It was a humiliating defeat that stirred up deep emotions in those who once admired West Indies cricket. Many saw it as the most recent symbol of a general demise and took the opportunity to lambast those they held responsible for it. It was like watching a friend, previously in robust health, needlessly waste away from a totally preventable and treatable ailment.

And so Jason Holder and his men would have arrived at Leeds with virtually no one giving them even a sniff of a chance of victory. If momentum is a real thing in sport then England had all of it and the West Indies had none. The second Test, everyone expected, would have largely gone the way the first Test did, resulting in another resounding victory for the hosts.

Yet, surprisingly, after five days of hard-fought, high-quality cricket (save for the catching), it was the visitors that were celebrating a five-wicket victory. It was a stunning turnaround that led to one of the most stunning wins in West Indies cricket history.

“We weren’t given a chance to beat England, since we landed here,” coach Stuart Law told Australian radio station, RSN927. “We’ve heard it from every part of the media, the written press, Sky Sports, all the ex-cricketers – we weren’t given a chance, mate, so that actually provided us with a lot of fire, a lot of fuel to produce what we’ve done over the last five days.”

Nobody contemplated that a different West Indies side would have turned up at Headingley. It was like the team underwent a complete makeover, presenting a different, more appealing face to their opponents and to the public. Gone were the insipid batting and bowling that defined them at Egbaston. This new and different Caribbean side, for the most part, was precise and purposeful in bowling, and proficient and patient in batting. Their catching was still a big concern, only assuaged by the fact that the malady seemed to have infected their opponents as well.

Headingley was not supposed to have happened. Who would have thought that Shai Hope, who began the game without a Test hundred to his name, would end it with two, becoming the first player to score centuries in both innings of a game in the 127-year history of first-class cricket at the venue. This was Headingley, remember, the ground for seam and swing, with England having within its ranks, two of the game’s foremost exponents of that genre of bowling.

Or who would have expected, that a bowling unit that served up so many loose deliveries and were pummelled for boundary after boundary in Edgbaston, would have improved to the point where they dismissed the hosts for 258 in their first innings? There were some personnel changes and Shannon Gabriel injected well-needed pace, but no one thought the transformation would have been so substantial.

The partnerships between Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite will be talked about for a long time. They collaborated for 390-runs in the game, 246-runs in the first innings and 144 in the second. There can hardly be any praise too high for the way the two young men played. Both exhibited high levels of discipline and skill in negotiating difficult batting conditions, especially during the early period of their first innings efforts when the ball moved and bounced. Yet their resoluteness did not prevent them from seizing upon the bad ball, which they put away, almost without fail.

The fight is on. #ilovemyteam

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We all knew of Brathwaite’s abilities; he had five Test hundreds before Headingley and had shown his worth before, such as in November 2016 when undefeated knocks of 142 and 60 were instrumental in West Indies beating Pakistan in Sharjah. Little was known about Hope outside the Caribbean, but his poise at the crease suggested he had the quality to propel him to the forefront of world batting. His man-of-the-match award was well deserved.

Hope and Brathwaite were indeed the stars. But useful batting contributions also came from Holder, Jermaine Blackwood, and Roston Chase, who only recently scored two centuries in a three-Test series against Pakistan in the West Indies. They have, therefore, the makings of a productive batting unit.

The West Indies’ second Test performance was welcome and refreshing, but in no way is it a signal of the end of the troubles that have plagued their cricket for a long time. In no way does it signal that Jason Holder’s men are now a world-beating side. What it shows is that while cricket has been floundering in the Caribbean, at least as far as Tests and ODIs are concerned, they still have the talent to compete with the best.

There is a long way yet to travel. The catching, for example, has to improve, and the bowling is in need of more depth, more sting. A reliable opening partner for Brathwaite is also a concern, as Kieran Powell, as talented as he seems to be, is yet to get himself going after his recent return to the team.

These shortcomings, however, can be overcome if the team and the coaching staff and the cricketers back in the Caribbean are prepared to work hard at it. And far from us looking at the end of West Indies cricket as many feared, this Headingley display ought to be the mark of a new beginning.

And perhaps the next time you Google “miracle at Headingly”, you will find a number of references to the West Indies’ 2017 victory over England.