Ben Stokes, who opened in a test match for the first time as England sought quick runs, is on 16 and Joe Root is on 8. Although not without any danger, an early declaration is expected Monday for England to have any chance of winning the three-test series.
West Indies took the opener by four wickets in Southampton, the first cricket test to be played since the global coronavirus outbreak. Half-centuries by Kraigg Brathwaite (75) and Shamarh Brooks (68) had kept England at bay until the evening session. The game moved England's way when Stuart Broad trapped Brooks leg before wicket, bowled Jermaine Blackwood (0) and claimed Shane Dowrich (0) in another lbw dismissal as part of a fiery new ball spell.
Chris Woakes claimed the last three wickets, starting with West Indies captain Jason Holder (2). He was caught by his England counterpart Root as West Indies slumped to 260-8 in its first innings, still needing 10 runs to avoid the follow on after England’s 469-9 declared.
But Roston Chase (51) hit Sam Curran (2-70) for a couple of boundaries to avoid the follow-on target before he was out, lbw to Woakes. Brooks said it had been crucial for the West Indies to avoid the follow-on.
“Yes, it is a runs game and trying to save it was important, but the more time we (batted) today, the harder it makes it for England to come and get a result in this game," Brooks said. He's anticipating an exciting last day, depending on England's approach to a declaration.
“Well, I personally think (England) would probably like to (set) us 260, 270, but it all depends on the time that they spend to get those runs and I think we just need to make it as difficult for them as possible and make them spend as much time on their batting, so they don’t get the opportunity to get a second new ball.”
Broad, who was left out of the first test, claimed three wickets for one run in 14 deliveries to energize the hosts and returned 3-66. “I genuinely didn’t feel like I had to prove anyone wrong. I’ve done all that talking on the field, but I felt quietly — or maybe not that quietly — that when I got the chance again I needed to be in the best place to perform," Broad said.
Broad said England needed a lead of least 270 to avoid defeat. “We should be able to defend 270 on this pitch but they are dangerous players," he said. “We want to make this series 1-1 as quick as we can and with the time that has gone out of the game because of weather, we might have to take a risk.”
It was a slow start for England, with just three wickets in the day’s first two sessions after West Indies resumed at 32-1 Opener Brathwaite shared half-century stands with Alzarri Joseph (32), Shai Hope (25) and Brooks before he was caught and bowled by Stokes.
Dom Bess had success with his second ball to remove Joseph in the opening session and Curran had Hope caught behind soon after lunch to give England a glimmer of hope it could take control. England tried the short-ball tactic after lunch and Stokes finally had some reward when Brathwaite went to flick one away to the legside and sent a leading edge back to the bowler.
“I bet everybody thought walking into tea it was a bore draw, this game was going nowhere,” Broad said. “We should be able to defend 270 on this pitch but they are dangerous players ... It’s going to be a great test match. I think we will dangle a carrot and all results will be possible, but we’ll have to bowl pretty badly to lose it.”
The teams stay at Old Trafford for the third test, starting Friday.
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