In the broadsword flash of twin test centuries from Shai Hope, there is a sunnier tinge to West Indies cricket and their approaching tour of New Zealand.

A week ago, the Windies were heading down the gurgler against England in another test series and looking a lot like the patchy starter on the summer menu in New Zealand before Pakistan then the England main course.

That may change again at Lord's in another week as England and the men from the Caribbean head into the series decider but the rebound from the Windies hints at some better pre-Christmas test substance in Wellington and Hamilton.

They were castigated after losing the first test at Edgbaston. Former speedster and coach Curtly Ambrose called them "pathetic" and Geoffrey Boycott rated them the "worst cricket side in the last 50 years".


Then in the cricketing aorta of Yorkshire, at the Headingley ground where Boycott and current skipper Joe Root are revered, the Windies reeled in a 322-run fourth innings target with five wickets to spare. Take that and slap it in your chip butty sandwich.

Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite batted England into submission after the bowlers combined to check any significant comeback from the hosts, whose poor catching and final innings' bowling helped the Windies to a shock victory.

Just as staggeringly, Hope is the only batsman to score centuries in both innings of a first-class match at Headingley. Until then the Barbadian had a quiet test record and had only passed 50 once so the jury is out on his future, as it still is on his team.

Politics, inter-island squabbles in the Caribbean and the effects of T20 have bitten into the Windies' pedigree in the years since Clive Lloyd, Gordon Greenidge, Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Ambrose, Holding and Joel Garner dominated rivals.

Earlier there were the three Ws, Wes Hall, Rohan Kanhai, Lance Gibbs and the imperious all-round talents of Garry Sobers.

A number played in New Zealand and one of those tourists was Bruce Pairaudeau, a gifted batsman from British Guyana who scored a century in his first test innings against India, toured here in 1955-56 and later returned to live and play for Northern Districts.

His original nickname was Mambo but he answered to the Duke when he matched his middle name - Hamilton - to life in Waikato.

He was a very stylish batsman, a fiend at table tennis, a keen swimmer and dancer whose delightful accent and terrific stories always encouraged a wide audience.

The state of cricket in the West Indies and the performances of their teams became a complex topic and one Pairaudeau wrestled with and will be keen to inspect when the tourists play at Seddon Park in late December.

They have changed their coach to Stuart Law, the former Queensland and Australian rep who coached Sri Lanka before taking up his new role.

A focus of his work has been reviving the stock of fast bowlers, improving players' fitness, qualifying for the next World Cup and finding batsmen who can cope with the grind of test cricket.

Hope and Brathwaite delivered at Headingley but Lords is a bigger task. Cricket does that, it's a consistent exam about temperament and technique where batsmen hit every ball in the middle in one innings and can struggle to find the edge in the next.