Metro (UK) - - SPORT - by DAVE FILMER

WEST Indies cap­tain Ja­son Holder landed the first sig­nif­i­cant blow in the bat­tle of the star all-rounders, claim­ing ca­reer-best fig­ures of six for 42 to put Ben Stokes’ Eng­land un­der pres­sure in the first Test.

With reg­u­lar Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root watch­ing from home with his new baby Is­abella, the home side were bowled out for 204 in tricky con­di­tions on day two that must have made Stokes ques­tion the wis­dom of his de­ci­sion to bat first at the Ageas Bowl.

While the heavy grey clouds and per­ma­nent flood­lights did not help, Holder and Shan­non Gabriel, who took four for 62, ex­ploited them won­der­fully be­fore the tourists reached 57 for one when bad light stopped play.

A rain-af­fected start to the se­ries meant Eng­land re­sumed on 35 for one and Gabriel, who claimed the only suc­cess of day one, gave the Windies a per­fect start with two more early break­throughs.

His first was Joe Denly, who was clean-bowled be­tween bat and pad, and he fol­lowed up by see­ing off Rory Burns leg be­fore. Um­pire Richard Ket­tle­bor­ough rejected the ini­tial ap­peal but DRS set­tled the mat­ter – the first of five de­ci­sions over­turned by the West Indies.

From there on, it was all about Holder, who has been man­ag­ing an an­kle in­jury since ar­riv­ing from the Caribbean but was fit enough to turn in his sixth five-for in the past ten Tests. He opened his ac­count with Zak Crawley, again lbw by DRS and then Ol­lie Pope, caught for 12.

Eng­land’s lunch score of 106 for

five would have been worse had Ke­mar Roach held a tough chance at fine leg off Stokes’ top edge but the ball slipped loose. For a spell af­ter lunch that looked to be a costly miss, as Stokes and Jos But­tler made a dash­ing stand of 67.

There was a sec­ond life for Stokes on 32 – put down by Shamarh Brooks at short cover – but Holder ended the counter-at­tack, Stokes nick­ing be­hind for 43. Just seven balls later, But­tler (35) was bril­liantly held by Dowrich.

He made it five when Jofra Archer was lbw for a duck, and Mark Wood was caught at gully to make it six. Dom Bess (31no) led a use­ful last-wicket stand of 30 be­fore Gabriel sent James Anderson pack­ing.

The West Indies’ post-tea re­sponse was split in two, a seven-over burst be­fore bad light and a sec­ond last­ing 12.3 overs. James Anderson took the only wicket to fall as John Camp­bell fell lbw for 28.

Cru­cial blow: Holder cel­e­brates the wicket of fel­low all-rounder Stokes (main pic­ture) on his way to a six-wicket haul at the Ageas Bowl

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