It was a day of toil for both the teams at Southampton on day three. West Indies batted for the most of the day and took a strong lead of 114, despite not capitalising on the partnerships they built. England bowlers had to work hard for their wickets as both the pitch and the conditions were not favourable for them.
Shane Dowrich, Roston Chase, and Kraigg Brathwaite were the star performers with the bat. And yet, all three failed to convert it into a big score. James Anderson was the pick of the bowlers despite not leading the wickets column. The 37-year-old was quick to adjust his lengths as there wasn’t much swing on offer. Especially in the case of Shamarh Brooks, who was playing predominantly off the front foot until lunch, Anderson pulled the length back, forcing him to go on the back-foot and eventually edge one to the keeper.
Jermaine Blackwood went back to the pavilion soon after Brooks, and the Windies were in a bit of trouble at 186/5. Dowrich, who joined Chase at the crease, played positively as England bowlers were struggling to make inroads. He was the enforcer while Chase was holding at the other end. Leaving behind the scars of his previous tour to England, Dowrich batted with resolve and intent. He stitched a 81-run partnership with Chase and successfully batted through to tea.
It was Anderson again, who came back with the second new ball to break the partnership. He dismissed Chase, who missed his half-century by just three runs. He did his job well as the all-rounder’s role was to shut stop a possible collapse when Blackwood’s wicket fell. Jofra Archer, who shared the second new ball with Anderson, had a bad day at work as he went wicketless. Meanwhile, Dowrich had reached his half-century and was looking good for a big score with his captain joining him.
However, Jason Holder’s poor form with the bat continued as he fell prey to the short ball strategy from his counterpart. Stokes and Wood mixed it up with a series of short balls and full deliveries, and it worked. Stokes took four for 49 as West Indies were all-out for 318.
With close to an hour’s play left, England openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley walked out to bat. They managed to see through the testing ten overs from Holder, Kemar Roach and Shanon Gabriel. England remained unscathed at 15/0 by the end of day’s play.
Earlier, starting the day at 57/1, KC Brathwaite and Shai Hope saw off the first hour of play adding 44 runs until the drinks break. Hope had a lucky break after being adjudged LBW as Archer had over-stepped. However, he did not make the most of it as Hope was dismissed for 16 by Bess, who bowled beautifully as right-hand batsman edged the ball that drifted away from him to Stokes at first slip.
Braithwaite, at the other end, hung in there to score his seventeenth half-century. He played late, with soft hands, negotiating Anderson and especially Wood, who was steaming in. Brathwaite too survived a close caught-behind appeal off Anderson on the third ball of the day. After a series of decisions overturned on Day two, Umpires were right this time as the ball had clipped the back leg. He went on to make 65 off 125 balls before being dismissed by another close umpiring call that went against the visitors.
Brief scores: West Indies – 318/10 (Kraigg Brathwaite – 65, Shane Dowrich – 61, Ben Stokes -4/49); England – 15/0 (Rory Burns-10*).