Warning Bells For West Indies On Day One
England 341-5 (Bell 143, Root 83) v West Indies
First Test, Antigua, day one
Ian Bell stroked a sublime century as England resisted an early West Indian charge to move to a sound position of 341 for five on day one of the first Test in Antigua.
It was a strange start to the Test series, West Indies winning the toss and electing to bowl first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua.
On a pitch that offered a little movement early on, West Indies made the most of it, getting Jonathan Trott (0) off the third ball he faced, with a simple nick to slips, ending his comeback innings after one and a half years.
Alastair Cook (11) hung on for a while before playing on to his stumps to extend his recent horror run in Tests.
Things went from bad to worse for England when Gary Ballance (10) edged one to the slips just a moment before rain interrupted play.
However, Joe Root (83) and Ian Bell (143) added 177 for the fourth wicket to ensure West Indies did not run away with the game early. It helped that the pitch eased out a little as well.
England, having lost the first session, by dragging along to 49 for three in 25 overs, came back strongly scoring 118 runs in the second session in just 29 overs.
Bell brought up his half-century in the 41st over with a fine boundary off Sulieman Benn (0-85) who was largely ineffective throughout the day.
Root followed suit with couple of fours off Jason Holder (1-55).
West Indies could have put one past England immediately after tea, had Benn held on to a simple catch at midwicket from Root off the bowling of Marlon Samuels (0-46).
However, Root eventually played on missing out on a well-deserved century.
Ben Stokes (71 not out) walked in ahead of wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, in spite of a dismal record of three ducks in his last three Test innings.
However, Stokes complemented Bell beautifully who was playing attacking cricket until then - especially against Samuels.
Stokes and Bell added 130 off just 154 balls, Stokes remaining unbeaten having played 80 deliveries with 10 fours and a six.
Bell brought up his 22nd Test century with a risky late cut off Samuels. Stokes meanwhile survived an lbw review that was turned down, when on 21.
Bell was in such good form that he welcomed the arrival of the new ball with two fours off Kemar Roach (2-66) who was largely off target.
The onslaught continued as Jerome Taylor (2-79) also went for couple of fours in the next over.
The day looked to be turning terrible by the moment for West Indies as Stokes stroked three beautiful and consecutive fours off Taylor in the 85th over followed by Bell smashing two more off Holder.
However, Roach managed to bowl one peach towards the end of the day, getting Bell’s edge.
Bell missed his 150 by seven runs and West Indies went back to the dressing room relieved having gotten the prized wicket in the penultimate over of the day.
Nightwatchman James Tredwell (0 not out) joined Stokes in the middle but had not faced a ball by stumps due to Bell's wicket falling off the final delivery of the previous over.
The West Indian bowlers failed to keep up the intensity after the initial charge giving away 23 extras and bowling too many loose deliveries.
Taylor and Roach picked up a couple of wickets each while Holder managed the lone wicket of Ballance.
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