Berliner TageBlatt - Leach, Stokes give England hope of victory in first Test

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Leach, Stokes give England hope of victory in first Test
Leach, Stokes give England hope of victory in first Test / Foto: © AFP

Leach, Stokes give England hope of victory in first Test

England's persistence paid off with three wickets just before the tea interval as the West Indies stumbled to 65 for three having been set the unlikely victory target of 286 on the fifth and final day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Saturday.

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After Joe Root threw down the gauntlet with a second innings declaration at 349 for six in the morning session, left-arm spinner Jack Leach claimed two wickets after Ben Stokes made the breakthrough by removing West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite.

Without the services of their fastest bowler, Mark Wood, due an elbow injury, the tourists were further frustrated for 25 overs by Brathwaite and John Campbell, who put on 59 and appeared to be setting the stage for the home side to at least consider the prospect of a run-chase in the extended final session.

But that all changed when Stokes was brought into the attack as the fifth bowler and responded by trapping Brathwaite leg-before for 33.

Leach, who shared the new ball with Chris Woakes, then drew Campbell into a false shot and Craig Overton took the catch over his head at mid-on for the left-hander to depart on 22.

On the stroke of tea, Leach struck again as Shamarh Brooks once more failed to impress with Zak Crawley taking the catch low at slip to leave England's players with a sense of anticipation going into the final session.

Their primary objective when play resumes is to remove first innings century-maker Nkrumah Bonner, whose temperament seems perfect for the requirements in that final passage of play.

Having ushered Crawley to his second Test century late on a rain-shortened fourth day, Root duly completed his 24th hundred in Tests at the start of play, but not before he lost Crawley for 121, a well-targeted yorker from Jason Holder separating the pair after a 201-run second-wicket partnership.

Crawley's innings of over five hours occupied 216 deliveries in which he struck 16 fours.

In contrast, Root's composed effort, which ended when he was bowled by Alzarri Joseph for 109, featured only six boundaries as the skipper faced 204 balls in spending just over five-and-a-half hours in the middle, facing 204 balls.

With an extra half-hour at the start of the day due to the frequent stoppages for rain on day four, England made clear their intention to declare with a limited-over style attitude which resulted in 132 runs being added for the loss of five wickets at the rate of a run-a-ball.

Dan Lawrence, who came in at the early fall of Crawley, belted 37 off 36 balls with four fours and the lone six of the innings, dominating a 70-run third-wicket stand with his captain before he became the first of three wickets in quick succession for Joseph, who also accounted for wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes.

Kemar Roach, the lone West Indies wicket-taker the previous day when England reached 217 for one, added to his tally when he dismissed Stokes as the rush for runs continued.

O.Krause--BTB