England Close Day Three Comfortably On Top

England Close Day Three Comfortably On Top
England Close Day Three Comfortably On Top
©Action Images / Craig Brough Livepic

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England 569-6 dec. (Cook 160, Bopara 108, Prior 63, Collingwood 60no) v
West Indies 94-3 (Sarwan 41no, Anderson 3-36)

Second Test, Riverside, day three: stumps

England dominated the West Indies on day three of the second and final Test at The Riverside, declaring their first innings at 569 for six before reducing their opponents to 94 for three by stumps.

After the second day was lost to rain, the home side rattled along at over five runs an over for much of the morning session, and kept up the good progress after lunch, Alastair Cook reaching a personal best score of 160, Kevin Pietersen scoring a quickfire 49 and Matthew Prior making a fluent 63.

England lost James Anderson early on when he was bowled by Fidel Edwards via his pads for 14 and his dismissal enabled the Riverside crowd to be entertained by some exciting strokeplay from Pietersen.

After getting off the mark, he took Jerome Taylor for three fours in one over, two clips through midwicket and a glorious straight drive and he stroked Edwards down the ground again before unleashing a classical cover drive. Pietersen, one of the most unorthodox batsman in world cricket, was playing an innings of delightful orthodoxy before from nowhere, he flashed at a wide one and was lucky that the ball flew past Sulieman Benn at slip.

Cook reached his Test-best score with a crunching drive through the covers for yet another boundary and he picked up his 150 with a typical flick to the leg side.

Pietersen brought up England's 400 by flicking Edwards, who was ten minutes shy of bowling unchanged through the session, through midwicket one ball after he had driven the same bowler down the ground after he had over-pitched. Just as the two batsmen looked set to take England through to the interval without another wicket, Cook lunged at Benn, offering a simple catch to Chris Gayle via a leading edge.

He had scored 160 in 339 balls having batted for five minutes short of four sessions in all, hitting 17 four and after lunch, Pietersen was dismissed, caught at backward point by Lendl Simmons as he tried to smash Benn through the onside. He had made for 49 in just 57 balls with nine fours but Paul Collingwood and Prior, aided by some poor West Indian bowling, were able to maintain the tempo.

Both men got off the mark with crisp cut strokes and the West Indians continued to offer up short, wide offerings which the pair cashed in on, Prior racing to his eighth Test half-century, which was predictably brought up with a shot through third man that went for four.

Prior was slightly fortuitous to escape being caught twice in one Ramnaresh Sarwan over and he eventually fell when he lofted Simmons to Benn at deep mid-on as England pressed for quick runs before tea. It was Simmons' first Test wicket and England then reached the highest first-class score on the ground but Andrew Strauss opted to keep on batting, only declaring the innings during the tea interval.

Benn bowled well, varying his pace, flight, point of delivery and degree of spin and although he picked up the important wickets of Cook and Pietersen, he should have caught Stuart Broad, unbeaten on xx at tea, off his own bowling. Broad compounded the miss by smacking the next ball for six over long-on.

Some inventive strokes from Collingwood on the way to a 13th Test half-century and strong drives from Broad brought up a half-century stand for the seventh wicket as the scoreboard and the gathering clouds did little to lift the West Indies' spirits.

Collingwood was unbeaten on 60 while Broad made 28.

England bowled tightly when the West Indies started their innings, and got their reward when Anderson pitched one full and straight which beat the defences of Devon Smith and rearranged his stumps behind him.

Gayle climbed into Stuart Broad, pulling and driving three boundaries before the bad light made way for some high winds and heavy rain with Gayle on 19.

When play resumed, Gayle was then dismissed, trapped in front by Anderson and the other man to fall was Lendl Simmons (8), caught by Strauss at slip one ball before bad light was offered to the batsmen and gleefully accepted.

The players returned to the field of play once again, but this time, there was to be no further breakthrough for England, Sarwan making it to the close unbeaten on 41, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul batting out 33 balls making three runs.

© Cricket World 2009

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