West Indies found themselves in deep trouble as England tail-enders shone with the bat and then James Anderson and Stuart Broad broke the back of their batting on the second day of the third Test at the Old Trafford.
In the last two sessions, England bowlers reduced the opponents to 137-6 and 232 runs in arrears. But let us first visit the most crucial part of today’s play, the morning session.
In the first hour, the overnight batsmen Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler perished without adding much to the tally. The former survived a dropped catch by Rahkeem Cornwall off Shannon Gabriel, who on the very first ball in his next over clean bowled him.
Since 2018, there have been 16 century stands made against WI in Tests, only one of them unbroken.
Gabriel has been their most prolific bowler in breaking these big stands.
Lewis – 1
Holder – 1
Brathwaite – 1
Bishoo – 1
Warrican – 1#ENGvWI
— Stat Doctor🩺 (@stat_doctor) July 25, 2020
Just before the wicket-keeper batsman was caught by skipper Jason Holder in the slips off Gabriel, Kemar Roach found the inside-edge off Chris Woakes’ bat, later disturbing the timber. It was his 200th Test wicket. And with this dismissal, the Barbadian entered the list of top 10 wicket-takers in Test cricket for the West Indies. Soon, Jofra Archer was caught at the second slip off Roach. England were 280-8.
— CricXtasy (@CricXtasy) July 25, 2020
The tourists looked in rhythm only till this point.
First, Broad was greeted with a few bouncers, which he dealt with quite well. The tall batsman hit nine fours and a six in an aggressive approach. Dom Bess, on the other hand, regularly provided him the strike. The bowlers were changed, ends were exchanged, but runs kept coming.
It would be no exaggeration to say Broad scored the most important runs of the match and of the series for England. He became the fifth player to score a Test fifty in fewer balls , 33 , when he was caught at deep mid-wicket trying to slog. England had 356 on board. And his score was 62 off 45 balls. After his dismissal, Bess and James Anderson could only add another 13 runs, as Anderson edged a ball off Holder to Cornwall, who this time did not err. A total of 89 runs by the last two pairs.
It was a frustrating session for the tourists to say the least. Things did not go as they had wanted, perhaps, when they left the field, they knew which way this match was headed. Little did they know that things would only get worse.
It was the first time in this series Anderson and Broad, the famous bowling pair were hunting together. They did not disappoint. The ball initially moved in the air and then off the pitch from immaculate line and length, for it was a top-quality bowling performance from all the pacers. Not to mention the sharp bouncers by Archer.
Of all the batsmen John Campbell and Jermaine Blackwood were fluent, but did not stay long enough as was expected of them.
In the second over of the innings, Kraigg Brathwaite nicked an away going delivery off Broad to Joe Root in the slips. Then, Campbell who looked settled did not foresee the vicious bouncer from Archer and ballooned a catch to Rory Burns. The openers were back in the hut. Anderson bowling from the end named after him bagged two wickets, both shaping away, both nicked, both caught by Buttler.
At 73-5, Broad trapped Roston Chase in the front. He was then followed by Blackwood who looking to drive Woakes saw his middle-stump fall. West Indies now were 110-6.
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Shane Dowrich somehow managed to play out the barrage of bouncers bowled by Archer, while his leader, Holder showed that he wanted to score runs.
Between the deliveries (that went behind), Buttler would pass the ball on, and Root would stretch his left sweater sleeve, use it like a thumbhole to whirl it hard for a shine. Maybe, he will have to do more of it tomorrow to see his team in total control.
Brief scores: Day 2: Stumps: West Indies: 137-5, trail by 232 runs. (John Campbell 32, Jermaine Blackwood 26, James Anderson 2/17, Stuart Broad 2/17)