Joe Root stands firm to give England hope after compelling third day

first_imgWest Indies cricket team England v West Indies 2017 Read more Holder attempted a lofted straight drive against Chris Woakes; he miscued and this time Moeen held a much more difficult chance as he ran back from mid-off. Then came a brilliant piece of fielding from Ben Stokes and a misjudgment from Blackwood, who must be one of the quickest West Indians. Blackwood spied a third run but Stokes pounced and hurled his return, which was deftly gathered by Jonny Bairstow.Next ball there was another basic error, this time from the England side. Gabriel presented a straightforward catch to short-leg and Stoneman dropped it. Surprisingly, since Gabriel’s batting prowess is miniscule, another 21 runs were added before he was lbw to Stokes.The bowler celebrated silently, which was just as well. In the morning Stokes had received a demerit point for “using language that is obscene or offensive” after being edged for four by Shai Hope on Saturday night. This means that Stokes will be banned for a Test or two ODIs if there is another transgression, which led to the notion that he should “do a Beckham” before the Ashes series. However, he had better behave for the rest of this match, because England may yet need him at Lord’s to ensure a series victory. Share on LinkedIn Jimmy Anderson bemoans England bowling after West Indies go to town Kraigg Brathwaite channels idol in heroic six-hour stand to revive West Indies Share on Messenger The most compelling Test of the summer, brimful of incident, excellence and aberration, hangs in the balance. After three days, during which West Indies have played most of the best cricket, the outcome nonetheless remains hard to predict. The bald figures are that England in their second innings have seven wickets remaining and they lead by two runs.England’s batsmen have had to scrap for every run; some enjoyed good fortune with catches dropped and, in one case, probably unnoticed and they have had to cope with the unnerving experience of waiting for an umpire’s decision to be overturned. Critically, at the end of a harum-scarum day Joe Root was still at the crease on 45 and he remains the likeliest batsman to influence the result of a contest that has restored faith in Test cricket.England started their second innings 169 runs adrift and for once the game situation overtook the constant debate about the constitution of the upper order for their winter tour. Alastair Cook and Mark Stoneman set about their task diligently, adding 58 together, and Cook, caught behind off Jason Holder for 23, was the first to go. match reports Since you’re here… Support The Guardian … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.center_img Read more Share on Facebook Reuse this content Topics Share on Twitter Share via Email England cricket team Cricket Share on WhatsApp Then Tom Westley endured an innings that he would rather forget. First he should have been run out after a mix-up with Stoneman but Devendra Bishoo at the bowler’s end dropped the ball, which compelled him to hurl it at the stumps with Westley still yards short. He missed them. No matter; soon after Westley drove wildly at Holder and was caught behind. The selectors would have viewed his failure more sympathetically if he had been the unfortunate victim of a run out.Stoneman was much more impressive in an unfussy way. He stands still at the crease with minimal pre-delivery movement and not much more after the ball has been released. He played several crisp drives in between calm defence and was able to register his maiden Test 50 before being bowled by a beauty from a perspiring Shannon Gabriel.In came Dawid Malan to join Root and now England had their escapes. When Malan was on four there was an appeal for caught behind; it was rejected and the West Indies decided not to review but UltraEdge suggested the ball had feathered the bat. Then Root, on 10, was dropped in the gully by Kyle Hope off the deserving Kemar Roach. Later, when 35, Root was given out lbw by umpire Sundaram Ravi, whose decisions have been overturned four times in this match so far and, to England’s relief, this was one of those instances. This was not a passage of play for the faint-hearted and the West Indies could easily have been better rewarded for their efforts.The first session when West Indies resumed on 329 for five was even more frenetic and flawed on a day when prompt arrivals were rewarded with high drama. Jimmy Anderson’s first ball kissed the outside edge of Shai Hope’s bat, which gave the West Indian the unusual and unwelcome experience of a standing ovation after receiving a solitary delivery. The second delivery from Anderson was edged by Shane Dowrich and a jubilant Root took the catch at second slip.Out came the West Indies captain, Holder, who negotiated the hat-trick ball with aplomb before guiding a boundary to third man. Then another incident, more commonly witnessed in a club third XI game, had the crowd gasping and Stuart Broad struggling to retain his composure. Jermaine Blackwood drove Broad’s second ball in the air without much power straight to mid-on, where Moeen Ali dropped a catch that would not have taxed many grandfathers – or grandmothers.Had that catch been taken West Indies would have been 333 for eight. Instead Blackwood and Holder counterattacked boldly, the former improvising impishly, the latter unveiling strokes of classical purity. Holder took 14 runs from a Broad over and England were creaking again in the field. This pair added a quickfire 77 before the next flurry of wickets. Share on Pinterestlast_img

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