Pope, But­ler start strong to push Eng­land for­ward

Fiji Sun - - SPORTS -

Lon­don: Ol­lie Pope’s classy 91 not out gave Eng­land the up­per hand on the first day of the de­cid­ing Test against West Indies at Emi­rates Old Traf­ford.

Pope added an un­bro­ken 136 with Jos Buttler, who is on 56, to push Eng­land to 258-4, tak­ing the ini­tia­tive for the hosts in the evening gloom fol­low­ing two ses­sions of backand-forth.

In re­duc­ing

Eng­land to 122-4,

West Indies had the chance to seize con­trol af­ter win­ning the toss and choos­ing to field for the sec­ond time in as many weeks.

The op­por­tu­nity was ac­cen­tu­ated by Eng­land’s de­ci­sion to cover for Ben Stokes be­ing un­able to bowl by omit­ting bats­man Zak Craw­ley in favour of an ex­tra pace­man - Chris Woakes at seven gave a lengthy look to the lower or­der.

But Pope and Buttler rat­tled along, and Pope was only de­nied a cen­tury be­fore the close by bad light end­ing play with 4.2 overs left.

They have left Eng­land as favourites to win this Test, the three-match se­ries, and deny West Indies a first suc­cess in this coun­try since 1988.

As they bid to re­gain the Wis­den Tro­phy - set to be re­placed by a prize named af­ter le­gendary pair Sir Ian Botham and Sir Viv Richards - they will have to be mind­ful of the Manchester weather.

Rain is forecast for the rest of the match, with days two and four look­ing at most risk.

SCORE­CARD

Eng­land 258-4 (85.4 overs): Pope 91*, Burns 57, Buttler 56*; West Indies: Yet to bat.

Ol­lie Pope

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