Windies pace ex­poses Eng­land’s soft cen­tre

The Free Press Journal - - SPORTS -

Eng­land's bats­men col­lapsed to West In­dian pace yet again as they lost six wick­ets for 45 runs to be dis­missed for 277 in their first in­nings just be­fore lunch on the sec­ond day of the third and fi­nal Test at the Dar­ren Sammy Sta­dium in St Lu­cia on Sun­day.

Hav­ing al­ready re­claimed the Wis­den Tro­phy with com­pre­hen­sive vic­to­ries in the first two Tests, and seek­ing a first clean sweep of their op­po­nents for 33 years, the home side will re­sume their re­ply at two with­out loss af­ter the in­ter­val.

Wick­et­less on the first day when an un­bro­ken fifth­wicket part­ner­ship of 124 be­tween Jos But­tler and Ben Stokes lifted the tourists to 231 for four, Ke­mar Roach stole the spot­light in scyth­ing through the mid­dle and lower or­der to fin­ish with fig­ures of four for 48. He now has 17 wick­ets in series.

It was Shan­non Gabriel though who made the first strike of the morn­ing by bowl­ing But­tler on his overnight score of 67 with just one run added to the to­tal.

That was the trig­ger for the slide and a rein­vig­o­rated Roach quickly got in­volved by dis­miss­ing Stokes for the in­nings top score of 79 when the at­tack­ing left-han­der mis­cued an at­tempted pull and wick­et­keeper Shane Dowrich sprinted 30 me­tres to back­ward square-leg in cling­ing on to a su­perb div­ing catch.

Pushed down the or­der af­ter strug­gling at the piv­otal num­ber three po­si­tion in Bar­ba­dos and An­tigua, Jonny Bairstow laboured for 33 de­liv­er­ies in man­ag­ing just two runs be­fore Roach breached the right-han­der's de­fence.

It was the 30th time he has been bowled in Test cricket, a wor­ry­ing statis­tic for a player seen wor­thy of oc­cu­py­ing the num­ber three spot.

It was then the turn for Alzarri Joseph to star with the ball and in the field.

First he in­duced Moeen Ali to fol­low a de­liv­ery an­gled across him to of­fer a sim­ple catch to Dar­ren Bravo at first slip for his sec­ond wicket of the in­nings.

Then he raced round the bound­ary's edge at fine-leg to pouch a well-judged catch when Mark Wood top-edged a hook off Roach.

Last man James An­der­son proved easy prey for the ram­pant Roach, fend­ing his sec­ond de­liv­ery into the wait­ing hands of Keemo Paul at third slip to put a seal on another dom­i­nant ses­sion for the West Indies in a series where they started as mas­sive un­der­dogs.

Ben Stokes (L) and Jos But­tler (R) dur­ing their res­cue act

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