- West Indies vs England, third Test: live scoreboard from St Lucia
- ENG (277 & 325/4) lead WI (154) by 448 runs
It was a great day of cricket – for those who believe that Test matches should be restricted to four days. Had it been a four-dayer, England would have had to put their skates on instead of steady accumulation, much of it against modest off-spin, until they took a lead of 448 into day four.
Joe Root took advantage of the circumstances to make his first score of note in this series – which, after 40 runs in the first two Tests, had been on course to be his leanest – and his 16th Test hundred. Those circumstances were as unintense as Test cricket can be, in the third innings of a dead-rubber game when the side with a big first innings lead builds to a declaration. It had to be done – to give Mark Wood and Moeen Ali plenty of runs to play with – but it was routine stuff after the pyrotechnics.
Root, who reached his hundred off 189 balls, was particularly adept at low-risk accumulation against spin. Had he been adept at low-risk accumulation against pace in the first two Test defeats, Root could have led his team to their third consecutive Test series victory.
As in most Tests but this one especially, much harder runs were scored in the first innings. It was the stand of 125 between Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes which finally turned this series England’s way, whereas the stand of 107 between Root and Buttler consolidated their winning position.
The steam having gone out of it, Buttler made his second 50 of this series – it has been so low-scoring he is alone in having reached that landmark twice – and Joe Denly made his highest Test score of 69. Even Keaton Jennings reached 20.
West Indies, with the Wisden Trophy regained, went through the motions with commendable enthusiasm after their pace attack was reduced by a quadriceps injury to Keemo Paul in the opening minutes. The disco thumped between overs, and some England supporters inflicted “Jerusalem” more often than the normal once, but after Rory Burns had been dismissed by the first ball of the day, the cricket remained as low-key as a modern Test could be – outside Bulawayo perhaps.
The loss of their all-rounder resulted in nearly half of the home side’s bowling being done by Roston Chase and Kraigg Brathwaite. Neither of them had prompted a comment by Lance Gibbs when the well-preserved 84 year-old West Indian off-spinner, who was the world’s leading Test wicket-taker in the 1970s, had visited the media centre on day two.
Little, therefore, should be deduced from England’s second innings, after runs had been far harder to acquire in the first innings, not to mention the first two Tests. Jennings was unfortunate when a ball pitching outside leg trickled from his pads on to leg-stump, but the one safe deduction is that his Test career has to be shelved until he takes his technique back to the drawing-board and develops a forward defensive stroke which is less like a stab in the dark.
There was much to admire in Denly’s front-foot driving, on both sides of the wicket, and he scored most of his runs against West Indian pace – only 10 against spin. So too in his willingness to bat on the second evening, instead of a nightwatchman, once Wood had wreaked his havoc with the fastest spell this correspondent has seen by an England bowler.
Denly’s running between wickets was excellent too, not only for the runs of his partners but extras too, which have been abundant in this game as the West Indian fast bowlers have tired and lost their hitherto relentless accuracy. And No3, as he has been in St Lucia, looks a much better fit than opening the innings did in Antigua.
Doubts have to remain though about the compactness of Denly’s defence, especially in the first 20 balls of an innings, when risk has to be minimised. He had been dropped before scoring in Antigua and was dropped here at third slip by Shimron Hetmyer – who would not have been there had Jason Holder been playing – when 12, Denly not dropping his hands in time to avoid Gabriel’s lifter. Later on it was hit-or-miss against Gabriel, a mixture that spanned the spectrum from fine cover-drive to fatal firm-footed slash.
Denly’s fortune with dropped catches has not been matched by Burns, who clipped the first ball of day three to square-leg. Thus Burns continued the tendency of his six-Test career to find new ways of getting out. The distinction to be made is that Burns has always looked the part, and has usually made a start, and batted well until he has got out, whereas only against spin has Jennings looked the part.
CLOSE: ENG 325/4 (Root 111* Stokes 29*)
West Indies, down a bowler and with the series won, produced lively spells in the morning and with the new ball but it has been England’s day. The focus will be on Joe Root who, having not score a hundred between Aug 2017 and Sept 2018, has now made one in three successive series. But the key to England’s dominance, of how they turned the screw, has been the partnerships of 54 for the second wicket, 74 for the third, 107 for the fourth and 71* for the fifth. Join us tomorrow for the fourth and possibly final day’s play.
OVER 100: ENG 325/4 (Root 111* Stokes 29*)
Brathwaite will bowl the last over of the day. The TV talk is of a possible declaration but given they have two injured players unlikely to bat given that the series is already theirs, England will have plenty of time to take the eight wickets they would probably need to win. I’m sure they will bat on for at least a session. Stokes plays out a maiden to end the day.
OVER 99: ENG 325/4 (Root 111* Stokes 29*)
Root late cuts for two off Chase, dabbing it deftly off the heart of the bat for two. Nicely played. England lead by 448.
OVER 98: ENG 321/4 (Root 108* Stokes 28*)
Three overs to go in the day’s play including this one. Brathwaite carries on with his step-and-fetchers and without drama but with pokes, prods, nurdles and flicks, England pick him off for six runs.
OVER 96: ENG 314/4 (Root 106* Stokes 23*)
Brathwaite brings himself on to relieve his depleted attack. They just want to get the day done. The fielders look tired and distracted. Only a single off the over, taken by Stokes with a back-foot drill through cover.
OVER 95: ENG 313/4 (Root 106* Stokes 22*)
Three singles off Chase. Milky milky.
OVER 94: ENG 310/4 (Root 105* Stokes 20*)
Joe Root brings up his 16th Test century, and England’s first of the series, with a gift from Joseph who has switched ends. The bowler serves up a juicy full toss of such pie-like proportions it could be smothered in gravy. Root slaps it back past the bowler for four, de-helmets and embraces Stokes. A single flicked down fine leg is Root’s 6,666th Test run. Call the archbishop. Ian Bishop informs us that Root needs to score 137 or more and remain not out to force his average back above fifty. England lead by 433
OVER 93: ENG 302/4 (Root 98* Stokes 19*)
Chase comes on for Joseph and Root plays the offie watchfully for five balls before pushing a single to long on. Stokes calls for a new bat and dispenses with the one that looks as though he’s been planting his spuds with. No glasspaper, Ben?
OVER 92: ENG 301/4 (Root 97* Stokes 19*)
Roston Chase takes the ball, windmills his arms and Gabriel snatches the ball off him, demanding one more over, the first ball of which trampolines past Stokes’ chin and keeps going, beating Dowrich’s leap and sailing away for four byes. Stokes has a big airy whoosh at the next, attempting to drive and misses. Gabriel is disgusted and makes his scorn known. Root bursts out laughing as does Stokes. The batsman pulls and top edges safely for two to bring up the 300 and then is struck flush in the nadgers for the second time in the past 20 minutes. Root thinks it hilarious from the safety of Gabriel’s end.
OVER 91: ENG 295/4 (Root 97* Stokes 17*)
Joseph unwraps the best ball of his shoddy spell from nowhere to come back in at Root and strike him on the pad, in front of middle, but via a thin inside edge. The England captain defends the next and then climbs into an off-drive for four, rinsing it past the bowler.
OVER 90: ENG 289/4 (Root 91* Stokes 17*)
Stokes is almost undone by a back of a length shooter that he was trying to pull. There was nothing he could do but hope and pray when he was a third of the way through the stroke and the ball did dribble past the stumps. The ball before had been overpitched and Stokes smoked it between extra and mid-off for four. Back over the wicket, Gabriel ends the over with one fired across Stokes that he couldn’t have reached with a clothes prop but that doesn’t stop him having an extravagant slash at it. England lead by 412.
OVER 89: ENG 284/4 (Root 90* Stokes 13*)
Joseph replaces Roach and it signals a loss of control. Stokes cuts two through point, smears a drive through cover for three giving Root the strike to tickle a the one slanted across him down to fine leg for four. Even in the first innings Joseph did not hit his straps and this has been poor from him today. Perhaps he needed some compassionate leave in the absence of Jason Holder to be there for him in the field.
OVER 88: ENG 273/4 (Root 84* Stokes 8*)
Root works four off his pads with a twist of the wrist. The umpires opt fro some superfluous pedantry by asking the third ump to check if it crossed the boundary after Campbell dived to knock it back. Superfluous because they had already run four. A broad smile from Root when Stokes is struck in the goolies by Gabriel who was surprised by the bounce as he shaped to pull then abandoned ship. Even Gabriel smiles – the needle between them has been founded on a sense of respect and fun throughout. England lead by 396
OVER 87: ENG 268/4 (Root 79* Stokes 8*)
Excellent running from Root to turn 1½ into two when he works the ball with the angle down to deep backward square. Next time he tries it the fielder is quicker so Root sticks on one. Stokes engages his ploy of charging Roach who gives him no chance by zipping it too wide for him to reach. Last ball Stokes does it again so Roach bounces him and Stokes has to take cover. They’re playing Jerusalem over the Tannoy now. How many times do we have to suffer it in one day. Please don’t turn it into muzak by constant repetition. Once is enough, surely. Small mercies. At least the trumpeter isn’t here.
OVER 86: ENG 265/4 (Root 76* Stokes 8*)
Gabriel starts round the wicket then comes over. He keeps Stoke son his toes throughout, jumping across the crease to defend and once, to try to cuff a pull that doinks off the tow and trickle back up the pitch to Gabriel Maiden.
OVER 85: ENG 265/4 (Root 76* Stokes 8*)
Roach, round the wicket, Stokes is too short and the England all-round carves an almighty cut for four. He follows it with a slappy drive through cover for three. Root, perhaps through tiredness, more likely because he is generally off form, continues his mid-innings struggles by fiddling at two he shouldn’t.
OVER 84: ENG 258/4 (Root 76* Stokes 1*)
Stokes is off the mark with a back foot whip to midwicket. As he passes Gabriel the two puff out their chests and chirp at each other. Gabriel, who has been ticking all day, emits steam when Root attempts to pull a delivery that was neither short enough nor did it get up high enough. The ball scuds under his bat as he swivelled into a hideous shot. Fortunately it missed off-stump. He ends the over trolling Gabriel again, misjudging the length to drive and the ball squirts off the inside edge and is stopped by short leg.
OVER 83: ENG 257/4 (Root 76* Stokes 0*)
Now the new ball misbehaves in the opposite direction when a brute from Roach rears up at Root after hitting the launchpad and Dowrich has to take it with a leap. Roach comes wider on the crease and Root works it into the legside for two but is beaten by the next which was pushed wider to tempt him. He couldn’t resist the drive and inside-edged it. The ball whistled past off-stump and then died before Dowrich could snaffle it. Doubly dangerous. ENG lead by 380
OVER 82: ENG 255/4 (Root 74* Stokes 0*)
Root glides a single down to third man. Shannon Gabriel, who has beef with both Root and Stokes, is made to wait by Stokes and the umpires who have asked him to change his footwear. Were the spikes too long and in danger of digging up the pitch? The umpires call for drinks while he swaps. Eventually they GET ON WITH THE GAME and Stokes lets one go past then claw drives one up the pitch, closing the face too early by bringing the bat down from first slip rather than straight. Gabriel fields it and hams a throw at the stumps. Stokes breaks eye contact. The last ball shoots through very low and Gabriel winces.
OVER 81: ENG 254/4 (Root 73* Stokes 0*)
Kemar Roach, who has nought for 13 off 12 overs so far, introduces some much-needed urgency to proceedings. He fizzes one across Buttler and strikes him on the hip. The ball shoots down for four – given as runs but it looked like leg-byes. Buttler is unnerved by a bouncer that sticks in the pitch and ruins the timing of his hook. He ends up collaring it only with the toe of the bat and looping it safely over short leg. They run two before Buttler is out next ball to an unplayable delivery. England lead by 377
Buttler b Roach 56 An absolute snorter, angled in, pitching on middle and off and searing past the edge to hit off-stump as Buttler, squared up by Roach’s width on the crease, plays around it. New ball does the trick. FOW 254/4
OVER 80: ENG 248/3 (Root 73* Butler 50*)
England post their second century partnership of the series after the one between Buttler and Stokes in the first innings and for the first time Buttler scores a second half-century in a match with a cover drive for a single. The new ball is due now and has been taken.
OVER 79: ENG 246/3 (Root 72* Butler 49*)
Jomel Warrican is struck on the knee at deep backward square when Root slog sweeps. He can’t see the airy shot in the glare of the sun so doesn’t run in and when it falls to Earth it spins and strikes him on the right leg. They run two. A single each is also added to the scorebook with drives. One more over of this dross and the quicks should come back.
OVER 78: ENG 242/3 (Root 69* Butler 48*)
Root saves Buttler’s homicidal run after pushing it to point and setting off, stopping and then going again. Root, head down from the start, got home to the striker’s end before Dowrich could break the wicket. Yes? No! Wait! Sorry!
OVER 77: ENG 241/3 (Root 69* Butler 47*)
Four singles off the first four balls of Chase’s 26th over of the day, worked skilfully into gaps at mid-on, between bowler and mid-off and two bisecting square leg and midwicket.
This is a tweet been waiting to write since the bro got the call up.. congrats on your maiden test 50 @joedenly2019 @joed1986 I was hoping I was going to be tweeting the same about your maiden test ton today but that can wait for another day! looked class too 👊🏻🏏👍#ashes👀 pic.twitter.com/9LAFe3JjAV
— Sam Denly (@Denly6) February 11, 2019
OVER 76: ENG 237/3 (Root 67* Butler 45*)
Root takes a knee early in a pre-cooked sweep but adjusts to lap the ball over his shoulder for two. A tip and run into the legside earns him another milky single. This field makes no sense given the lack of turn, the round the wicket line and the batsmen’s ease.
OVER 75: ENG 234/3 (Root 64* Butler 45*)
Root plays a delicate late cut to glide three down through third man. Round goes the point sweeper to dredge it back from the rope with rare tenacity for today. England happily poop-pooping along. West Indies are going through the motions. I’m here all week.
OVER 74: ENG 229/3 (Root 60* Butler 44*)
Brathwaite appeals for a stumping after Buttler pre-empts his delivery by crouching to sweep. He misses the balls and Dowrich dislodges the bails but although he overstretched, he hadn’t toppled over and managed to keep his back foot anchored.
OVER 73: ENG 227/3 (Root 59* Butler 43*)
Five off the Chase over. Buttler slices a square drive over cover point for two and pushes singles through cover and mid-off. Root drives his through cover. West Indies are drifting.
OVER 72: ENG 222/3 (Root 58* Butler 39*)
Kraigg Brathwaite brings himself on to wheel his arm over to get to the new ball. Root treats his oppo with the greatest respect until the last ball on middle which he sweeps cleanly and punishingly for four through square. West Indies, with two subs out there and having won the series, barely bother to give chase. Double Nelson, ie two arms, two legs and the biologically impossible double
a sense of duty.
OVER 71: ENG 218/3 (Root 54* Butler 39*)
Two singles for Root off Chase with a cover drive and a wristy flick. One milked by Buttler through cover.
OVER 70: ENG 215/3 (Root 52* Butler 38*)
Root punches a single through the covers off the back foot. Joseph corrects his line after his previous hit-free over but not enough to trouble Buttler who defends a couple and leaves the rest alone.
OVER 69: ENG 214/3 (Root 51* Butler 38*)
Fifty for Joe Root, brought up with a tickly flick off his ankle that dribbled down to very fine leg for four. It ensures that he has a record stretching back to 2013 and his second series against New Zealand of scoring at least a half-century in every subsequent series.
ENG lead by 338.
OVER 68: ENG 208/3 (Root 46* Butler 37*)
So much for the tea theory of spin at both ends. Alzarri Joseph is coming back into the attack with the old ball. Root watches the first three through to the keeper. He needs to bowl a ball’s width straighter. Root shapes to hook the bouncer but pulls out mid pivot as it climbs over his shoulder. Joseph reverts doggedly to the dull fifth stump line of yore and earns a maiden of no worth because Root didn’t have to play at any of the six deliveries.
OVER 67: ENG 208/3 (Root 46* Butler 37*)
Good evening. West Indies are going to rattle through a few overs of spin to get to the new ball. First off we have the hero of Bridgetown, Roston Chase, with his offies, bowled from round the wicket to the right-handers. Root uses his bat to defend a couple rather than kicking them away but when Chase strays on to middle and drags it down, Root leans back to punch a single through point. If you haven’t seen the groundsman’s work with his mower, it really is startling. The pitch is surrounded by contrasting strips of grass, stretching away on the diagonal, which make it look like an Imperial Japanese flag.
TEA: England 207/3 (Root 45* Butler 37*) lead by 330
Ninety-nine for one wicket lost in the 29 over session. Not a passage of play that will live long in the memory, unless perhaps your name is Joe ‘No Pants’ Denly, who was out on 69 when a century, and a near-certain Ashes spot, was beckoning. As it is, he will be sweating on his place.
In and of itself, you could say Root and Buttler made untroubled progress against a modest, slightly checked-out Windies attack. But given England’s batting horrors in this series it would be churlish indeed to complain about them actually showing a bit of patience and discipline, so well done to them. Their stand is worth 60, England’s lead is 330, and Rob Bagchi will be your guide until the close of play. Cheers!
OVER 66: ENG 207/3 (Root 45* Butler 37*)
Brathwaite himself delivers the last over before tea, it is a maiden.
OVER 65: ENG 207/3 (Root 45* Butler 37*)
Couple off this over as well, Nasser Hussain has roused himself to be furious with the 12th man for not throwing the ball in properly. Impressive effort from the Essex and England man. Everyone else is just looking forward to a wee break, and I am including live bloggers and cricketers in that.
OVER 64: ENG 205/3 (Root 44* Butler 36*)
Very sorry, I seem to have mislaid an over during this period of duelling part-time spinners. Update: got it! Corrected below. Major news.
It has been unmemorable fare. 24/0 in the last ten, neither of these batsmen really in the mood to put the hammer down. Windies look like they’re ready for a cuppa.
OVER 63: ENG 202/3 (Root 42* Butler 35*)
Buttler sweeps. Misses. Ball is near the glove. Rod Tucker has given him out pretty much before Shane Dowrich has caught it and appealed! He’s given out but Jos has called for the review with similar alacrity. Overturned.
OVER 61: ENG 200/3 (Root 40* Butler 35*)
Couple off that one. Will Jos overtake Joe?
and then OVER 62: ENG 201/3 (Root 41* Butler 35*) as Root takes a single. Sorry – missed that earlier! I think we’ll all survive.
OVER 60: ENG 198/3 (Root 39* Butler 34*)
The live blogger’s bane, spin at both ends. It’s Kraigg Brathwaite with his gentleman’s off-spin. Nice classical action, nothing so rum as to actually spin the ball off the surface. Jos does not fancy getting out to that muck much, and blocks.
OVER 59: ENG 197/3 (Root 39* Butler 34*)
Buttler dabs Chase to third man for two, they add three singles, and a largely chanceless and featureless half century stand is marked.
OVER 58: ENG 192/3 (Root 38* Butler 30*)
Curious moment now! Joseph with a back of a length delivery, Buttler is already swaying out of the way, seeing it early. But it does not bounce at all! He’s dropped the hands on it and is standing there leaning back and the ball just crashes in to his gloves. Lucky for him it just flumps downwards.
OVER 57: ENG 191/3 (Root 38* Butler 29*)
Easy as you like five runs off the over. Chase the bowler, Buttler the batsman.
OVER 56: ENG 186/3 (Root 38* Butler 24*)
Root pulling. Bounce not really trustworthy. Well, it is a dead rubber. Forgive me.
Root miscues one such pull shot, that lands.. safe.
OVER 55: ENG 183/3 (Root 36* Butler 24*)
Runs continue to flow, especially for Buttler, as he steps back to cut behind point for four.
Windies have not downed tooled by any means. Chase doing his best to keep it tight, quick men running in. Given Eng;and’s love of a calypso collapso, a lead of 300 could I guess be a final target of 350. Or 310. But all in all, it feels like England have got this game right where they want it, and sooner or later they will be bowling with a huge cushion.
OVER 54: ENG 177/3 (Root 35* Butler 19*)
Flamboyant pull from Jos, who is going along well. Chalk up four against Joseph. A Root single sends the leads north of 300.
OVER 52: ENG 169/3 (Root 33* Butler 13*)
Unfussy three runs off this Joseph over. England going along nicely, the lead ticking up and up. I cannot see why they need to do anything other than bat the rest of the day. Not just in terms of building the lead / winning the match, but simply spending some time in the middle.
OVER 50: ENG 164/3 (Root 30* Butler 11*)
Alzarri Joseph is coming on for a spell. Reasonable line and length, more than reasonable pace. Bit of a wide one to finish, and Root skews it off the thick edge through a fairly crowded cordon. England not passing up anything.
OVER 49: ENG 160/3 (Root 26* Butler 11*)
Chase to Root – but never mind about that, he’s given Buttler a Mankad warning!
Chase to Buttler. Cuts a ball that was probably too close for it, a chance at slip. Well, wide of slip really, to be fair. No catching that. That is drinks.
England lead by 283.
OVER 48: ENG 155/3 (Root 25* Butler 7*)
Buttler has come out looking for runs. Couple of cuts and slashes through the offside. Two and a four. If he’s watched the Denly dismissal he’s either not bothered or reckons he can trust the bounce.
OVER 47: ENG 149/3 (Root 25* Butler 1*)
Jossington off the mark with one off the pads. Now Root makes a meal of a regulation delivery and plays back when maybe he could have used his plates. Hit on the pad, self-evidently outside the line but still a bit of a reminder.
OVER 46: ENG 147/3 (Root 24* Butler 0*)
Jos comes in, survives the first ball. England lead by 270 runs.
WICKET! Denly c Dowrich b Gabriel 69
Oh, No Pants! No! Gabriel has been banging the ball in hard, outside off, and Denly has been riding his luck by taking it on outside off. Here off the second ball of the over he slices over point. But the bounce is not true, making this a high-risk approach. Fifth ball, he cuts again, but this one does not bounce quite as much. Bottom edge. Dowrich makes no mistake. FOW 147/3
Denly played eight cut shots against pace in his innings – including five from his last eight balls. The Windies left a gap at backward point, encouraging the shot and it led to his downfall. Intelligent tactics from Gabriel and the Windies and Denly fell into the trap. #WIvENG pic.twitter.com/gbgLiKdCZh
— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) February 11, 2019
A nearly-but-not-quite knock. I bet Ed Smith would have loved him to get a hundred and nail down an Ashes spot. And had he got a duck well, regrettable but, y’know. They could have binned him off fair and square. But this score is neither fish nor flesh.
OVER 45: ENG 143/2 (Denly 65* Root 24*)
Chase gets one to rag but his only reward is three byes. Dowrich having a busy and not all that glorious little spell of play.
OVER 44: ENG 138/2 (Denly 64* Root 23*)
Gabriel. Eventful over. Denly chops the ball over slip – and only just over slip at that. Gabriel has got the ball reversing in, but it only really seems to go after it goes past the bat. Root tries a ramp shot and gets it all wrong. Now Root waves outside off.
OVER 43: ENG 133/2 (Denly 60* Root 23*)
Here comes Roston Chase with his… well, I was going to say, “with his modest off breaks” but then he got eight of this shower out for 60 the other day, didn’t he?
Here comes THE DESTROYER Roston Chase. Two off a low key over.
OVER 42: ENG 131/2 (Denly 59* Root 22*)
Shannon Gabriel has had five in this spell, albeit with the lunch break in between, and I wonder if that might be his lot. Seeks for the yorker but gets it wide, four byes to the total.
OVER 41: ENG 126/2 (Denly 59* Root 21*)
Roach runs in.. Root pulls away. Someone is being a pain in the kesyter behind/near that sightscreen. Not George, I am quite sure. Anyway everyone is a bit irritating.
OVER 40: ENG 125/2 (Denly 59* Root 21*)
Gen-yoo-waiyne edge there from Denly, rattles through the gully region and Gabriel, who was already in a mood, is not cheered by that sight as you might expect.
OVER 39: ENG 118/2 (Denly 53* Root 20*)
Roach gets the ball to tail in at Denly’s off stump, and said vertical piece of wood must be missing a coat of varnish after that! Close! But Denly puts it behind him with an attractive drive next ball, four runs, and that is a maiden Test half century.
OVER 38: ENG 113/2 (Denly 49* Root 19*)
Keemo Paul has not re-emerged. Shannon Gabriel, however, has. He sends down an accurate, brisk over to Root, who takes a single off the penultimate ball. There was a delay in the over when Sky Sports’s production manager, identified as ‘George’ by MA Atherton, gets in the way of the sightscreen.
At Pratt’s club in Park Place: “To avoid confusion, all male staff members are referred to as ‘George’. This caused a dilemma when the first (and so far, only) female steward was hired in the 1980s. The problem was solved when it was decided that she would be called ‘Georgina’.” (from Wikipedia)
Anyway. The last ball of the over, Joe Denly chips through the legside for four. Outfield is rapid.
Big couple of hours for Joe ‘No Pants’ Denly, who should be looking at an Ashes spot if he is still batting at tea. Hey, this England batting ‘unit’: success is a low bar.
Gabriel seemed to have hurt his hamstring but is being used sparing. Keemo Paul was stretchered off but, incredibly, might be coming back out they say. Bravo has hurt a finger. Windies probably run their race in this series.
Thanks Baggers. The silver fox is looking better pleased with his blogging stint than most of us on the MBM this tour: decent England sessions have been hard to come by. And when Burns fell before Jerusalem had ended, or even hardly begun, it looked like being another stinker. However, once Jennings had departed for his traditional space-wasting 20-odd, Denly and Root played pretty well and with various of the West Indian bowlers limping, England surely should be able to get in a dead rubber-winning position from here.
LUNCH: ENG 108/2 (Denly 45*, Root 18*)
A decent morning for England and both Joes have played some terrific strokes, though Denly should have been out for 12 when Hetmyer dropped a sitter. Burns must have fancied a day at the beach, so lackadaisical was his dismissal from the first ball of the day and Jennings, though he made it to 20, was all at sea outside off-stump. He tried to guts it out to compensate for glaring technical flaws but in the end heart only gets you so far when you’re so drawn to temptation outside off and you’re wearing concrete boots. ENG lead by 231. I’ll hand you over to Alan Tyers for the afternoon session.
OVER 37: ENG 108/2 (Denly 45*, Root 18*)
Root spears cover with a drive that brings him a single and England head off to lunch 231 ahead.
OVER 36: ENG 107/2 (Denly 45*, Root 17*)
Vintage Root when Gabriel gives him something to cut, slamming it off the back foot through piint so hard it could have blazed its trail across the grass, were it not for the surplus sand, a natural barrier to fire. Gabriel takes his time, presumbly to ensure it’s the last over before lunch but he falls 25 seconds short. Root at his best takes cheeky singles and he does again here with a punch up the ground. It riles Gabriel who gives him a verbal volley at the end of the over as Root gardens at the non-striker’s. Brathwaite pulls Gabriel away as Root smiles like a choir boy who has let off a stink bomb but knows no one will ever suspect him.
OVER 35: ENG 101/2 (Denly 44*, Root 12*)
Root brings the hundred up when Chase drags one down and the England captain swivels to pull it hard for two through square leg. There’s a sweeper down there precisely for that shot and he cuts off the boundary. No turn for Chase and he doesn’t seem to be using the breeze as well as Moeen did yesterday. He is much taller than Moeen – could that be a reason? Probably more to do with the pace at which he bowls.
OVER 34: ENG 97/2 (Denly 42*, Root 10*)
Gabriel returns for the misfiring Joseph. West Indies’ quickest bowler has barely cracked a smile all series. It’s a serious business. Gabriel bangs one in outside off that Root tries to cut but the ball goes under his bat. Gabriel has a word and Root breaks eye contact and he smiles as he goes gardening on a good length. Only a no-ball to add to England’s total – they lead by 221.
OVER 33: ENG 96/2 (Denly 42*, Root 10*)
At Barbados Root’s attempt to glide a dabby lat cut through third man off Chase ended his innings. He played the stroke like a man giving morning slip catching practice, the human slip cradle. Here he plays it again but with softer hands and a face that wasn’t as open. It allows him to send the ball past slip for two.
Since 2006 only four opening batsmen in the world have had a higher false shot percentage against pace than Keaton Jennings’ 20% and none of them have a lower average runs per wicket against pace than Jennings’ 16.65. #WIvENG pic.twitter.com/99AUKWYIxV
— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) February 11, 2019
OVER 32: ENG 93/2 (Denly 41*, Root 8*)
Joseph tries banging one in to Root, it doesn’t get up but because it was arrowed in to Root’s body, he can’t free his arms properly. No bother for Root, though, as he short-arm pulls it between midwicket and square leg for four. Lovely shot. ENG lead by 216
OVER 31: ENG 88/2 (Denly 40*, Root 4*)
Root rocks back to drill a single through point off Chase and Denly drives one through mid-off. West Indies have given Root a very tame welcome here. None of the ugly pace or tight lines that have proved his downfall in five previous innings on tour.
OVER 30: ENG 86/2 (Denly 39*, Root 3*)
Joseph bagged Jennings with a rubbish delivery and he continues with a ragbag of short and wide balls, understandable given his grief. He offers Denly one that sits up outside off and the No3 rifles a square cut through point for four. A couple of singles through the covers keep England ticking along. ENG lead by 209
OVER 29: ENG 80/2 (Denly 34*, Root 2*)
Chase can’t bowl so wide to the right-handers as there’s no rough to work with. England merrily milk him for four singles and a three, the last of them by Denly who comes down the track to loft a drive over mid-off that plugs into the sandy outfield and stops it going to the fence.
OVER 28: ENG 73/2 (Denly 29*, Root 0*)
Jennings departs with a rueful smile after saying something lipreaders will confirm rhymes with ‘luck, me?’ ”I know it’s unlucky,” says Bumble. “But he shouldn’t be missing it.” Enter Joe Root who lets two balls past then punches a back-foot drive that is stopped by point. Wicket maiden for Joseph, an over which has probably ended Jennings’ Test career. Unless … ”Keaton Jennings, astronaut. A batsman barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Keaton Jennings will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.”
ENG lead by 196.
Jennings b Joseph 23 Emblematic of his career outside Asia. Poor leg-side delivery that Jennings tries to tickle fine for four. he misses it, it hits the back of his right knee and touches the stumps by the width of the seam to dislodge the leg bail. FOW 73/2
OVER 27: ENG 73/1 (Jennings 23* Denly 29*)
After five dot balls and relentless chirping from Dowrich, who announces that Jennings is twitching to get after one so to carry on with tempters, Jennings pushes a single through point.
OVER 26: ENG 72/1 (Jennings 22* Denly 29*)
West Indies’ drinks conclave obviously agreed that bowling dry was the best approach to dismiss two evidently skittish batsmen. Roach does his duty with a successive maiden though has himself to thank for diving in his folowthrough smartly to block off Denly’s crisp straight drive.
OVER 25: ENG 72/1 (Jennings 22* Denly 29*)
Chase, too, keeps the batsmen scoreless but not because he’s beating the bat but simply because he is bowling too wide to hit with any degree of confidence and control. It almost bears fruit when Jennings, sick of being tied down, essays a square cut with no footwork at all and hazards chopping on and feathering an under-edge through to Dowrich. Again, he gets away with it.
OVER 24: ENG 72/1 (Jennings 22* Denly 29*)
Maiden for Roach to Denly whose batting oscillates between gravy and gruel. He flashes at a drive that he should have left alone and Roach gives him a glare and is beaten by another jaffa.
OVER 23: ENG 72/1 (Jennings 22* Denly 29*)
Roston Chase replaces Joseph and begins with three deliveries that are far too wide, one of them even being called so. Jennings leaves them be. Chase maintains the width so Jennings adapts by trying a couple of reverse sweeps, the only way he could reach them without a broomhandle but even then he doesn’t connect. Finally Chase drifts one in on off-stump and Jennings drills it through cover. Gabriel hobbles after it and they run two.
Rory Burns is averaging 25.00 across six Tests. Based on the balls he has faced we would expect an average Test batsman to average 25.80 against those deliveries. While you want your opener to perform above average it illustrates that he has faced a lot of good balls. #WIvENG
— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) February 11, 2019
OVER 22: ENG 69/1 (Jennings 20* Denly 29*)
A wide from Roach, on height, allows these two to post 50 for the second wicket. Denly defends the rest and the umpires call for drinks. ENG lead by 192
OVER 21: ENG 68/1 (Jennings 20* Denly 29*)
Joseph’s line isn’t right at all. Paul is injured, Gabriel’s hamstring can sustain only a measured workload and Roach cannot bowl all day. One is wary of saying anything about the joy of facing Roston Chase after Barbados, but if Joseph can’t get this right, providence might give these two a remarkable opportunity to make the kinds of scores that twist selectors’ arms. Denly exploits the width to cream a cover drive for four, even bending the right knee as his followthrough left the bat raised in a flourish as if he was posing for a golden age portrait artist.
OVER 20: ENG 63/1 (Jennings 20* Denly 25*)
Roach switches ends and continues to prey on Jennings insecurities from round the wicket. The opener conquers temptation to leave four, pulling his bat inside the line as Roach makes the ball talk in the manner of Linda Blair on the bed in the Exorcist. Still, he survives. ENG lead by 186
OVER 19: ENG 63/1 (Jennings 20* Denly 25*)
Joseph replaces Roach rather than Gabriel and Denly, who likes to open his right wrist on his drives to send the ball behind point does just that and takes three. The news on Paul is that he has suffered a ’quadriceps strain’ rather than a tear. It looked far worse than a strain. The batsmen work three singles into the legside as Joseph struggles with his line to the rotating right- and left-handers.
OVER 18: ENG 57/1 (Jennings 18* Denly 21*)
Gabriel, who started feeling his hamstring during the first innings in Antigua, is going to have one more over. Jennings, streakily but productively, chases a wide one and deems it driveable, squirting it dangerously over the head of gully. The risk makes Michael Atherton wince. He takes two more through gully with a better stroke, employing more control because the ball was closer to him which allowed him to cover the ball with more of the bat to poke it past the fielder. ENG lead by 180
OVER 17: ENG 50/1 (Jennings 12* Denly 20*)
Apologies for the gremlins in the score widget. Should be corrected now. Roach is causing all sorts of problems from Jennings from round the wicket but the England batsman is digging in and, in the worst of Jeff Dujon, “fighting for his life”. He follows a jaffa that lifts outside off and snakes into him but he misses it and he is knocked off his feet by a big inswinging sandshoe crusher that he jabs out of the blockhole. Inbetween he square drives two through cover off the outside half of the bat to bring up England’s fifty.
OVER 16: ENG 48/1 (Jennings 10* Denly 20*)
Gabriel trims Denly’s eyebrows with a vicious lifter that flirted with the batsman’s raised hands. Fortunately for England, it was a big no ball. The bowler reaches 90mph but his accuracy is off and the ball sits up invitingly wide of off-stump. Denly, who has been playing the back-foot punch, goes horizontal with a scything cut that flies off the top edge over gully for four. Gabriel pitches the next one up, straining for some movement, and Denly greets it with the best shot of his Test career, the sweetest of checked off-drives that smokes the ball past the bowler. ENG lead by 171.
OVER 15: ENG 38/1 (Jennings 9* Denly 12*)
Kemar Roach comes on for the lame Paul as the stretcher bearers carry him away for treatment and to a standing ovation. Jennings leaves a couple, putting his fishing licence away, inside edges into his pad as Roach shapes one in round the wicket and takes a single with a defensive which he elongates into a push with a brief flourish in the followthrough.
OVER 14: ENG 37/1 (Jennings 8* Denly 12*)
Excellent shot from Denly to put away a fullish, quick delivery outside off through the covers for four. Keemo Pual gives chase and pulls up lame, twanging his hamstring so hard it sounded like harp falling down the stairs. After a delay for treatment, Gabriel surprises Denly with a heavy ball that spits up and catches the shoulder of his bat. He ducked into it and fended it to third slip where Hetmyer dropped an absolute dolly. Gabriel, understandably, is fuming and screams a lovely bass tone in frustration. Paul departs around the boundary to the dressing room on a stretcher. ENG lead by 160
OVER 13: ENG 32/1 (Jennings 8* Denly 8*)
Will England laugh or cry if Jennings and Denly made a decent score today? Neither look sturdy Ashes prospects but a big innings from either or both would present a dilemma for Ed Smith, James Taylor and co. Denly flicks a single down to fine leg off Paul who is veering the ball in and away.
OVER 12: ENG 32/1 (Jennings 8* Denly 7*)
Shannon Gabriel begins with an 86mph legside delivery that scuttles past Dowrich for five wides. He quickly corrects his line to fourth stump and Denly gets up on to his toes to defend. Denly has this Nasseresque tendency to force top-handed drives behind square and it serves him well here, catching the fielder at point out as he went one way before it carromed the other way. They run two and take a single off the next ball from a more orthodox cover drive. Jennings takes positive early evasive action to sway out of the way of a snorter from Gabriel that follows him as he pulled back the beak towards leg stump. That was a rasping rhinoplasty ball from Gabriel and he followed it with a venomous stare, too. ENG lead by 155.
OVER 11: ENG 24/1 (Jennings 8* Denly 4*)
What a dreadful start. It was a half volley on middle and leg and Burns had a wristy flick at it. Enter Denly for possibly his last Test innings and he is away straightaway with a back-foot punch that slides off the face of the bat and races through third man for four. The ball is swinging for Paul, hooping both ways, and Denly takes a leg-bye from the one pushed across him that he flicks at but misses.
Burns c Joseph b Paul 10 Sticking him up as the main picture for this over-by-over has jinxed him. First ball of the morning, he lazily leg-glances a loosener into the hands of short leg who held on to a low catch. FOW 19/1 ENG lead by 142
We resume coverage of the third Test on the third morning with England in their best position of the series, 142 runs ahead and with 10 second innings wickets remaining. And they are so well-placed by virtue, largely, of Mark Wood. It’s far too early to tell what his re-emergence and England’s ability to exploit his sheer pace means for the team’s future, let us just treasure it without investing too many hopes for his long-term durability.
But in a happy omen, Wood’s mentor and fellow son of Ashington, Steve Harmison, truly came of age on a Caribbean tour 15 years ago. His seven for 12 in the first Test at Kingston skittled a far better batting line-up than England are facing now, and to watch him bowling to a field of six slips, a gully and a short leg was a sight those of us who had lived through the maulings of the Seventies and Eighties could have previously conceived only with the help of expensive stimulants.
Frank Tyson once wrote: “To bowl fast is to revel in the glad animal action, to thrill in physical power and to enjoy a certain sneaking feeling of superiority over the mortals who played the game.” Harmison, with his dander up, certainly transmitted the first two but was so self-effacing it is difficult to imagine him feeling a cut above his victims. Wood, palpably, revels in it more. Even if he isn’t the long-term torch-bearer for England’s fast bowling he has both shown the way ahead to win abroad and on the flatter pitches of Lord’s and the Oval as well as showing up the folly of the tour selection.
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