ENGLAND’S TOUR OF WEST INDIES, 2019
Cricbuzz Staff •
Windies opener batted 21 overs to end Day at 30/0. © AFP
Windies claimed Day 1 honours in the Antigua Test by bowling out England for 187 in their first innings before playing out the 21 overs without any damage. The openers dogged batting meant the hosts ended the opening day of the second Test 157 runs behind with all ten wickets intact.
Having wrapped up the visitors’ first innings for a paltry score, Windies had 21 overs to survive in an extended post-Tea session on a rather lively green-top. Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell did exactly that, the latter particularly overcoming a nervy start to finish the day with 16 against his name off 71 deliveries he faced.
With immense aid off the pitch, England’s new-ball pair of Stuart Broad and James Anderson seemed menacing – the former in particular, bowling seven overs on the trot in his opening spell and thoroughly testing Campbell – but eventually returned wicket-less, as did England at the end of the day. The visitors were in with a chance late into the session, though, when an lbw appeal against Brathwaite was turned down. However, England lost their review when replays found Sam Curran to have overstepped.
While the Windies openers successfully saw off the new ball, England went back knowing they hadn’t done much wrong since their batting capitulation earlier in the day.
England’s resistance with the bat lasted just 61 overs and runs came courtesy Jonny Bairstow and an under-fire Moeen Ali’s half-centuries. Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel were the wreckers-in-chief, sharing seven spoils between them. The top-order crumbled around Bairstow, who hit a brisk 52, while Moeen combined with Ben Foakes for a vital 85-run stand that helped England avoid total catastrophe.
Unchanged Windies had no hesitation in putting England in, who made two changes to their playing XI by handing a debut to Joe Denly and replacing Adil Rashid with Stuart Broad. The new England opener got off to an ominous start in Test cricket, surviving a very close lbw call even before he had opened his account, but fetched only six runs before chasing a short and wide delivery from Alzarri Joseph.
Joseph was coming into the attack after a testing opening spell by Roach and Gabriel that saw four maidens on a trot. Rory Burns got England off the mark after 26 dots, with a crisp boundary through square leg, but got a thick edge to Jason Holder at second slip one ball later as the procession started early.
Soon after, a confident looking Joe Root was undone by extra bounce and, in his attempt to get out of the way, gloved one off Joseph to Campbell at second slip. A back-pedalling Campbell, however, could only manage to get his hand on to it but Shai Hope ran in from gully and put in a dive to send the English captain on his way. Jos Buttler, sent ahead of Ben Stokes, too became a victim of extra bounce, top edging to Campbell, who took the catch diving comfortably this time.
Bairstow was the only solace for England on a forgetful morning that brought back memories of the Test series opener. The England No. 3 mixed caution with aggression and kept his team afloat at Lunch with 52 off just 62 deliveries, slamming nine boundaries and a six in his knock. But Roach brought an abrupt end to Bairstow’s fireworks soon after the session break. The pacer struck Bairstow low on the pads with just the second ball of the over and this time the DRS call went in favour of the hosts. Shortly after Stokes called-off his verbal duel with Gabriel with a fist-bump, he nicked one behind to the ‘keeper to add to England’s woes.
Moeen came to England’s rescue, hitting a timely half-century in a stabilising partnership with Foakes. He had a nervy start, with edges evading the fielders twice early in his innings, but grew in confidence as the pitch eased out and the ball got softer. That coupled with the fact that Windies pacers were starting to tire out, runs started flowing at a steady pace in the hour leading to Tea. Joseph, in particular, continued to offer freebies – bowling either too short or two full outside off – and both Moeen and Foakes jumped at the opportunity to pick up runs in boundaries. Moeen raised his fifty with a boundary off Holder, while Foakes looked solid throughout as the duo bailed England out to go to Tea at 172 for 6.
The relief though was short-lived. England witnessed another collapse post Tea, losing their four remaining wickets for just 15 runs. Eerily similar to how it unfolded after Lunch, Roach struck early after Tea as well to take out the half-centurion Moeen, who fell to a nothing shot. At the other end was Gabriel who sent Foakes on his way after he dragged a pull shot onto his stumps.
Roach and Gabriel went on to pick a wicket each – the former dismissing Curran in a manner quite similar to Root’s dismissal, while the latter yorked Anderson out for 1 – as England collapsed from 178/6 to 187 in their first innings.
Brief scores: Windies 30/0 (John Campbell 16*, Kraigg Brathwaite 11*) trail England 187 (Moeen Ali 60, Jonny Bairstow 52; Keemar Roach 4-30, Shannon Gabriel 3-45) by 157 runs.