Holder scored a superb double century and shared a record unbroken stand of 295 for the seventh wicket with Shane Dowrich as the West Indies dominated England.
Scores: WEST INDIES 289 (Shimron Hetmyer 81, Shai Hope 57, Roston Chase 54; James Anderson 5-46, Ben Stokes 4-59) and 415-6 declared (Jason Holder 202 not out, Shane Dowrich 116 not out) ENGLAND 77 (Kemar Roach 5-17, Jason Holder 2-15, Alzarri Joseph 2-20) and 56-0 (target 628)
The home side declared at 415-6 in the second innings to set the visitors 628 to win. England ended on 56-0 – still 572 behind with two days left to play. It was a wicketless day and 344 runs were scored in contrast to Day 2 when 18 wickets fell for 229 runs.
Holder and Dowrich came together late on Thursday evening when the Windies were in a spot of bother at 120-6 and batted until after tea on Friday when the declaration came.
Holder, the highly-rated allrounder, batted majestically to record a career-best 202 not out from 229 balls with 136 runs in boundaries – 22 fours and eight towering sixes. It was his third Test century – the first 103 not out batting at Number 8 against England in Antigua four years ago and the second was 110 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in October 2017, batting at Number 9.
Holder’s knock was the third highest by a Number 8 in Test history behind only the Pakistani duo – Wasim Akram (257 not out) and Imtiaz Ahmed (209).
Dowrich, the reliable wicket-keeper, played some eye-catching shots off both the front foot and the back foot to remain unbeaten on 116 not out – with 11 fours and a six off 224 balls. It was also his third Test century. The others: 125 not out against Sri Lanka in Trinidad seven months ago, and 103 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in October 2017 – when he shared a partnership of 212 with Holder. They have two other century stands in Test cricket.
“Shane and myself, we have a really good friendship. We have known each other from school cricket days so we complement each other well while batting,” Holder said.
“I was ecstatic when I reached my double … lots of hard work and effort went into it. The double was never in my thoughts, but I got close and went on and pushed for it. We needed a hundred today and I went out there and got it. We need wickets tomorrow, so I have another job on my hands.”
Holder added: “It was beautiful day … a wonderful day and I’m happy with the way things went. It was some challenging bowling from England, very difficult to bat especially against (Ben) Stokes and Jimmy (Anderson). Was great to have friends and family here watching … this is where I made my debut and a ground where I enjoy playing.”
Dowrich was also pleased with his performance.
“It was a matter of playing ball by ball and batting steadily. We knew we had time to bat so we played sensibly and got the rewards. The pitch is a lot better for batting than yesterday when 18 wickets fell, and as guys who play here often we are fully aware of the conditions and what to expect,” he said.
“But at the end of the day, there was some spin and bounce so there is a lot to think about tomorrow. It was the most special day I’ve had in a West Indies shirt but it would be more special later on – tomorrow or Sunday – if we win the match and go 1-0 up in the series.”