England Lead But West Indies Peg Them Back A Bit
West Indies 299 (Samuels 103)
England 373-6 (Root 118 no)
Second Test, Grenada, day three
Joe Root carved an aggressive and stroke-filled century as England accumulated a healthy 74-run lead in spite of a late fightback by West Indies at stumps on day three of the second Test in Grenada.
England resumed day three on 74 for no loss.
Alastair Cook (76) and Jonathan Trott (59) were steady but extremely cautious, preferring to lay a foundation rather than to push for a result, rain hanging in the weather.
In the first 15 overs of the day, England managed just 25 runs.
Devendra Bishoo (2-124) was the first to strike for West Indies tossing up a full leg-spinner that got Trott driving.
The edge was taken at second slip ending a 125-run opening stand that came in 49.2 overs.
Another big moment in the game came in the 56th over, Bishoo beating Cook’s bat and hitting him on the pads.
It was very adjacent but the appeal was turned down. Denesh Ramdin reviewed it almost immediately.
In the end, by a matter of millimetres, it turned out to be umpire’s call, lucky for Cook and unfortunate for West Indies.
England went into lunch at 143 for one having scored 69 runs in the first session with the loss of Trott’s wicket.
Cook’s 211-ball vigil eventually came to an end when newcomer Shannon Gabriel (2-60) got the England captain’s bottom edge that rattled the stumps.
Gabriel got a double strike, getting Ian Bell (1) in the first ball of his next over, Bell inside edging one onto his stumps, leaving England in a little discomfort at 164 for three.
However the superstar pair of Root (118 not out) and Gary Ballance (77) who rescued England in the first test as well, put in the hard yards before taking full toll of the tiring West Indian bowlers.
Runs started flowing freely after the new ball was taken, Ballance dispatching Jermaine Blackwood (0-14) for a six and four in a 14-run 86th over.
Ballance, like Cook, survived a very close lbw review that once again went against the West Indians.
That was at the stroke of tea, Root just getting to his sixth consecutive 50-plus score.
England went into tea at 253 for three scoring 110 runs in the second session off 31 overs, West Indies maintaining a good over-rate.
Ballance brought up his half-century too a couple of overs into the post-tea session.
The positive intent was clearly seen as Root and Ballance plundered 16 runs off the 96th over from Bishoo, Root smacking a six to cow corner, Ballance adding a couple of fours to pile on the woes for the bowler.
England overtook West Indies in the 99th over, bringing up 300 with four byes off Jason Holder’s (0-49) bowling, who was largely harmless through the day.
Root and Ballance added 165 runs for the fourth wicket in 41.4 overs, with a very good overall run-rate that had picked up in the last few overs that the pair batted together.
Root was the main aggressor though going at a strike-rate of over 70 even as Ballance was going at around 40.
Ballance lost his wicket against the run of play, Marlon Samuels (1-38) turning over his golden arm, tossing one up and getting Ballance to inside edge one onto his stumps.
There was another double strike for West Indies, as Moeen Ali (0) virtually ran himself out in Samuels’ next over, attempting a non-existent run to mid-wicket to get off the mark.
Root didn’t spend a lot of time in the 90s, striking two fours off Kemar Roach (0-77) to bring up his sixth century in just 24 Tests and this was his first triple-figure score overseas.
He was joined by Ben Stokes (8) late in the day who surprisingly came ahead of the big-hitting Jos Buttler (4 not out).
Stokes didn’t last long though, hitting a half-tracker from Bishoo straight to deep midwicket.
Following some earlier banter, Samuels even gave him a salute following his dismissal.
Root and Buttler saw off the last six overs without further loss. England ended the day on 373 for six after 124 overs taking a lead of 74 runs.
For West Indies, Gabriel was consistently pitching the ball in the channel and got rewarded for it.
Bishoo went for a lot of runs but that was because he had bowled 17 more overs than the next highest by a West Indian bowler, 41 in all.
He was getting turn and creating chances, which would have gone his way another day.
Roach and Holder were not threatening for most part and Samuels helped in enhancing the over rate besides picking the important wicket of Ballance.
West Indies will rue the 30 extras that they have already given away in this innings.
© Cricket World 2015