England Build On Lead Even Though West Indies Fight
England 399 & 116-3 (Ballance 44 no)
West Indies 295 (Blackwood 112)
First Test, Antigua, day three
Jermaine Blackwood scored his maiden Test century and James Tredwell picked a four-wicket haul as England marginally won day three of the first Test of their West Indies tour at Antigua leading by 220 runs.
West Indies started the day on 155 for four with Shivnarine Chanderpaul (46) and Blackwood (112 not out) the overnight batsmen resuming their half-century partnership.
Some early luck went West Indian way as Blackwood was dropped on 43 by Tredwell (4-47) at gully, a tough chance.
Barring the odd boundary, it was a slow start but an hour into the day’s play, Chanderpaul uncharacteristically picked the cover fielder with an airy drive missing out on another half-century.
West Indies were on the verge of winning the first session but lost their skipper Denesh Ramdin (9) as well, at the stroke of lunch.
Stuart Broad (2-67) who picked Ramdin with an unfortunate nick off a short one down the legside, could have gotten Jason Holder (16) almost immediately had Gary Ballance held on to a straight catch to short leg.
Blackwood’s luck continued as he survived a close lbw call which although reviewed by Alastair Cook, stayed with the umpire.
Blackwood scored runs quickly after lunch hitting Ben Stokes (0-64) for a six and two fours.
He brought up his 100 with a single off Tredwell , his maiden Test century.
Meanwhile Holder’s 44-ball gutsy vigil came to the end though, the 49-run partnership helping West Indies get closer to the England’s first innings score.
However, after Holder’s departure, the tail was wrapped up quickly, Tredwell surprisingly the wrecker in chief.
He picked Kemar Roach (5) and Jerome Taylor (0) in the same over.
Sulieman Benn (2) lasted all of seven balls leaving Blackwood stranded on one end, West Indies conceding a 104 run first innings lead, losing six wickets for 140 runs on day three, their last four wickets for just 19 runs.
For England, Tredwell picked a four-wicket haul with some nifty bowling while Broad and James Anderson (2-67) picked one each in the morning to take their tally to a couple of wickets each.
England’s second innings started much the same way as their first. Jonathan Trott (4) edged one to the keeper yet again, Taylor (2-12) swinging it beautifully away.
Cook (13) followed soon after with an edge to gully. Taylor looked incisive and the only bowler who really threatened the England batting consistently.
Ian Bell (11), the centurion from the first innings ran himself out attempting a non-existent run past forward short leg to leave England in some trouble at 52 for three.
However, Ballance (44 not out) and Joe Root (32 not out) dug in with an unbeaten 64-run partnership to ensure England ended their day with a reasonably comfortable lead of 220 runs.
West Indies also lost a review as Ramdin gambled for Root’s wicket when he was struck outside off stump off the bowling of Marlon Samuels (0-13).
For West Indies, Taylor was brilliant, bowling with pace and swing but he lacked much support from the rest of the bowling as Ballance and Root looked comfortable against the other bowlers.
While Ballance was slow and dropped anchor, Root scored fairly briskly with West Indies giving away 12 extras, same as what England had offered them in an entire innings.
© Cricket World 2015