Stokes puts Windies bowlers to the sword as England stretch advantage

(ICC Report) Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes put on 260 runs for the fourth wicket as England posted 469/9 before declaring, with West Indies reaching 32/1 in 14 overs before stumps.

Ben Stokes struck 176 – his second-highest Test score – as he put a tired West Indies attack to the sword, facing more balls than he ever has before in a Test innings. Sibley continued to grind out runs until he holed out to deep mid-wicket for a 372-ball 120 off Roston Chase when he showed his first signs of real aggression.

Sibley had a nervous night, having ended the first day on 86, and he spent the second morning edging towards his second Test ton. The right-handed opener eventually reached the landmark shortly before lunch having faced 312 balls, with just four boundaries.

Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley. (Photos by ICC)

Stokes wasn’t far behind, but had to wait until after the break having reached lunch unbeaten on 99. By that point he had already gone past the 235 balls he faced while making 128 against India in 2016 – his previous longest innings in Test cricket in terms of balls faced. He swiftly moved into three figures for the 10th time in Tests and began to accelerate.

By the time Sibley was dismissed, England had moved to 341/4 and were firmly in charge. Ollie Pope fell to one from Chase which turned and kept a little low, leaving his tally for the series at just 31 runs in three innings so far.

Jos Buttler kept Stokes company, helping to accelerate the innings as he took advantage of some loose bowling from Chase to score three boundaries in an over. Stokes finally fell trying to reverse sweep Kemar Roach – giving the seamer his first wicket in Tests since dismissing KL Rahul and Virat Kohli with consecutive deliveries in August 2019. Roach ended his wicket drought in the same way it began, nicking off Chris Woakes first ball to make it two in two.

Buttler scored with relative freedom until he was caught by Alzarri Joseph on the leg-side boundary from the bowling of Jason Holder. Sam Curran looked to attack, hitting Chase for a straight six, but fell trying to reverse sweep the same bowler an over after Buttler’s dismissal, giving the off-spinner his third Test five-wicket haul.

Dom Bess and Stuart Broad added another 42 runs in 6.3 overs before Joe Root declared to leave his bowlers 14 overs in which to start on the job of taking West Indies wickets.

Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell survived the opening burst from Broad and Woakes, but Sam Curran struck with his fourth ball – removing Campbell with a scramble-seam delivery – to ensure some reward for England before stumps. West Indies will resume on day three on 32/1 with Brathwaite and nightwatchman Joseph at the crease.


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Michelangelo Jacobus

Sports Editor and Founder of 'The 592 Dugout'.

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