But­tler, Stokes put on big part­ner­ship

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Sport - Agence France-Presse sports­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

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)

AP

▪ Ben Stokes hit 62 not out.

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