Hope half-century keeps West Indies afloat

Lunch West Indies 123 and 153 for 6 (Hope 60*, Holder 8*) lead England 194 by 82 runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

West Indies’ hopes of setting England a challenging score in the third and deciding Investec Test rested squarely on the shoulders of Shai Hope at lunch on the third day at Lord’s. With James Anderson taking his 502nd and 503rd Test wickets in his opening spell, England threatened to fatally constrict the West Indies innings but Hope responded with an unbeaten half-century as they pushed the lead towards three figures.

Batting continued to be a survivalist pursuit, despite more leisurely conditions on a Saturday when the sunshine was only intermittently broken by scudding clouds. Hope was vigilance personified, adding just 25 runs to his overnight 35 and bracing himself every time the ball passed his outside edge – as it frequently did during a suffocating first-hour examination by Anderson and Stuart Broad.

During 14 overs from England’s senior pair, West Indies managed 19 for the loss of two wickets, their plan to try and get through the early stages intact derailed inside the first over of the day. Roston Chase and Jermaine Blackwood fell to catches behind before Shane Dowrich briefly counterpunched, hitting three boundaries, only to donate his wicket and complete a miserable series with the bat.

Having been joined by his captain, Jason Holder, the last West Indies batsman with an average above 20, Hope switched into a more assertive mode. He struck his first boundary, reward for patiently navigating the previous 20 overs, with an elegant stroke through the covers off Ben Stokes – who then left the field with a suspected knee complaint – and brought up his half-century with a supremely timed on-drive off Toby Roland-Jones. A third four followed in the same over.

For the final over before the interval, Joe Root brought himself on to bowl but saw another low catch escape Alastair Cook at second slip as Holder chanced a drive and got away with it.

If that left England mulling how many they would be happy to chase, they could not have asked for a better start. Anderson, fresh from breaking the 500-wicket barrier and having switched to bowling from the Nursery End due to his pair of warnings for running on the pitch on the second evening, was immediately into his work. Chase faced only two deliveries, the second of which he chivvied into the gloves of a leaping Jonny Bairstow.

Anderson ought to have had his second a few overs later, when Blackwood slapped a drive to mid-off, but Broad saw the ball burst through his hands as he dived to his right. Broad thought he had picked up Blackwood himself, only for a thin inside edge to save him from lbw on review; but the batsman was transparently unsettled and, in Anderson’s next, steered another catch to the keeper.

There was a further drop to come – the 25th of the series – when Broad flew to his left in his follow through but could not get more than fingertips on Dowrich’s chipped drive. Although Dowrich battled stoically to reach double-figures for the first time in the series, he then spooned a miscued pull to mid-on trying to go after Roland-Jones.

West Indies’ lead at that stage was 52 but Holder played with composure to help add 30 and maintain hopes that his side can somehow still pull off a remarkable series win.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.