Wednesday, 3 March 2021

West Indies avoid follow-on in Manchester Test

MANCHESTER: Half-centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite (75), Shamarh Brooks (68) and Roston Chase (51) helped West Indies avoid the follow on, which left England racing against time to push for a victory in the second Test against West Indies in Manchester.

At stumps, England were 37 for 2, leading by 219 with Ben Stokes and Joe Root in the middle. The entire third day’s play was washed out by rain, and England will be looking to add quick runs on the fifth day before declaring as they had lost the first game of the three-match series in Southampton. England needed quick runs to push for victory and opened with Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. However, Buttler was bowled by Kemar Roach for 0 in the first over. Roach got Zak Crawley too, before Stokes and Root saw through the day.

West Indies resumed the day 32 for 1 and should have lost nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph early but the edge off Chris Woakes was put down in the slip cordon.  Joseph went on to make a crucial 32 off 52 balls, adding 54 for the second wicket with Brathwaite before falling to off-spinner Dom Bess. Shai Hope, whose lone two Test hundreds came at Headingley in 2017, helped Brathwaite add 53 before, on 25, he was caught behind jabbing at a Curran cutter.

West Indies’ 123-3 might have become 123-4 but Brathwaite, on 46, was spared by umpire’s call when England reviewed a Stuart Broad lbw appeal. Brathwaite then completed a 121-ball fifty when he drove Broad down the ground for four. Brooks elegantly eased Broad off his pads and drove Bess for two of nine boundaries in a fifty that came from just 96 balls.

Root set increasingly funky fields for Stokes and the paceman’s perseverance was rewarded when his 10th successive over of pounding the ball in short saw him dismiss Brathwaite. Brooks and Brathwaite had added 76 for the fourth wicket before the latter was caught and bowled by the England all-rounder. West Indies went to tea at 227/4 and needd 43 runs more to save the follow-on. It seemed like a mere formality but the second new ball turned things around drastically.

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