Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley scored fine centuries before England reduced West Indies to 32-1 in their first innings on day two of the second #raisethebat Test at Emirates Old Trafford.
Scorecard | Commentary
Stokes (176) and Sibley (120) shared in a massive 260-run partnership for the fourth wicket, occupying a weary West Indies attack for a demoralising 575 deliveries, helping set up a declaration at 469-9 late in the day.
While the batting was at times slow, Stokes and Sibley’s contributions could prove the difference on a pitch where there is still enough in it for the bowlers, as Sam Curran proved late on.
Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes bowled well first up, but it was Curran who had the golden arm, trapping John Campbell (12) lbw with his third ball – confirmed by DRS, having initially been given not out on the field.
Curran could, and perhaps should, have had another review in his favour in the final over of the day, but England decided against using one for a lbw shout against nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph that was shown to be out.
The West Indies were unfortunate not to have more success with the ball themselves on a hugely frustrating day. Working tirelessly throughout, and limited by an injured Joseph (tricep) and a stiff Shannon Gabriel, the seamers found considerable movement and beat the bat on a number of occasions, while Roston Chase (5-172) got decent turn and bounce on his way to a five-wicket haul.
The tourists waited till the 94th over – 12th of the day – to take the second new ball, after being encouraged by the swing they were seeing with the old one.
But Sibley and Stokes were in no mood to give their wickets away, leaving well outside off stump, and they were fortunate to miss the rare few they did play a false shot at.
Sibley brought up his second Test century shortly before lunch, while Stokes waited until after the interval to tick off the one run he still needed for his 10th Test ton.
Quite contrasting approaches from the two centurions followed, with Stokes rapidly going up through the gears and beyond 150 – a glorious, checked-drive six straight down the ground off Joseph a particular highlight – while Sibley still struggled to score.
Sibley was particularly penned in against the spin of Chase and ultimately, with England in pursuit of quick runs, he’d perish holing out at deep midwicket when trying to break from the shackles.
Ollie Pope (7), having waited with his pads on for the best part of a day, quickly came and went, trapped lbw when playing back to a Chase delivery that perhaps kept a little low.
Jos Buttler, his place in the side being questioned, enjoyed the freedom that came with England’s dominance and began to get going when taking Chase for three boundaries in an over, only for two quick wickets to reign him in.
Kemar Roach (2-58) had toiled without reward in the series until, wouldn’t you know it, he picked up two in two balls to find himself on a hat-trick; Roach first ended Stokes’ epic vigil, the allrounder nicking behind when attempting a reverse-swat, while the ball to get Woakes was a beauty, bringing a regulation edge to a wide third slip.
Buttler (40) and Curran (17) saw England beyond 400 before they too fell in quick succession, with Curran’s top-edged reverse-sweep securing Chase his five-for. Dom Bess (31no) and Broad (11no) then slapped on a quick 40 to the score before the declaration came.
England will have been hoping for more than the solitary Curran strike in the 14 overs at the West Indies late one, especially with rain forecast for Saturday, but the hosts are still in a very strong position as they look to level this three-match series.
Watch day three of the second #raisethebat Test between England and West Indies live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Saturday.
Source : Sky Sports