Stoking the fire
Big Ben bags six but Windies bite back on day of carnage
BEN STOKES produced a career-best six-wicket haul during a devastating marathon spell that blew away West Indies at Lord’s yesterday, before the tourists replied to run through England’s top-order.
Stokes bowled unchanged for 14.3 overs either side of tea – a period spanning two hours and 26 minutes – to take 6-22 in a masterclass of swing bowling that saw the tourists routed for 123 in this deciding Test.
That phenomenal effort from the Durham ace beat his previous best Test haul of 6-36 against Australia in the decisive Test of the 2015 Ashes at Trent Bridge.
It also saw the all-rounder, who scored a hundred against New Zealand at this ground in 2015, become only the eighth player in the history of the game to get on both the bowling and batting honours board at Lord’s.
However, England’s batting problems continued with the home side losing Mark Stoneman, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley and Joe Root as they collapsed to 24-4, before bad light came to the rescue with Stokes and Dawid Malan having taken the score to 46-4.
On a day of see-sawing fortunes, Stokes’ effort with the ball overshadowed the efforts of James Anderson – after the Lancashire opener had looked on course to take his 500th Test wicket, removing Kraigg Brathwaite and Kyle Hope as the West Indies slumped to 22-2
But the fact that Stokes took the final three West Indies scalps in 16 minutes after tea left Anderson stranded on 499 Test wickets.
The leader of England’s attack had come into this final Test three shy of 500 and had looked certain to reach that
landmark when taking the first two West Indies wickets during the morning session.
Anderson was taken out of the attack in the afternoon session after bowling 12 overs. But England still needed three wickets to wrap up the West Indies innings when he returned shortly before tea.
The 35-year-old was bowling brilliantly and saw a series of deliveries go agonisingly close to the stumps and the edges of his opponents’ bats.
Anderson, though, will now have to wait until West Indies’ second innings later in the match to become only the sixth player – and third seam bowler after Australian Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh of the West Indies – to claim 500 wickets.
Off you go! Ben Stokes celebrates taking the wicket of Shane Dowrich, but the tourists were fighting back towards the end of yesterday’s play at Lord’s. Inset: Jason Holder grabs the wicket of Tom Westley
In form: Kemar Roach