Buttler, Stokes put on big partnership
GROS-ISLET, SAINT LUCIA: Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes featured in England’s best partnership of a deeply disappointing series as they lifted their team to 231 for four at stumps on the opening day of the third and final Test against West Indies on Saturday.
Put in to bat by West Indies stand-in captain Kraigg Brathwaite, and seeking to regain some lost prestige after already surrendering the series and the Wisden Trophy, the fifth-wicket pair played with increasing fluency through an extended final session in putting on 124 runs at the Darren Sammy Stadium.
It was England’s first century partnership of the series with Buttler getting to 67 and Stokes reaching 62 at the close.
Both made the most of lucky escapes. Buttler’s first scoring shot was an edge off Shannon Gabriel to which a leaping Shimron Hetmyer at second slip could only get his fingertips.
Stokes was caught and bowled on 52 by Alzarri Joseph and was already in the England dressing room when he got the call to return to the middle as the lanky fast bowler had delivered a no-ball. “This is still a challenging wicket so to come off (the field) four wickets down, we’re pleased with that,” said Ben Stokes. BRIEF SCORES England 231/4 (J Buttler 67*, B Stokes 62*, K Paul 2/42)
▪ Ben Stokes hit 62 not out.