SOUTHAMPTON: Shane Dowrich hit five boundaries in an unbeaten 30 as the West Indies built a first-innings lead over England in the first Test at Southampton on Friday.
The tourists were 235-5 at tea on the third day, 31 runs ahead of England, with the new ball available immediately after the interval at the Ageas Bowl.
Roston Chase was 27 not out, having added an unbroken 49 with Dowrich after opener Kraigg Brathwaite made 65.
England fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood — both selected ahead of the gutted Stuart Broad — have yet to take a wicket in the opening match of this three-game series, which marks international cricket’s return from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown.
But James Anderson — England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker —had tea figures of 2-42 from 19 overs, with off-spinner Dom Bess taking 2-51.
West Indies resumed behind closed doors on 57-1, with the first sunny blue skies of the match providing ideal conditions for batting.
Brathwaite was 20 not out and Shai Hope three not out, with the pair having scored three hundreds between them in a sensational Test victory at Headingley during the West Indies’ 2017 tour of England.
Barbados-born Archer would have had Hope lbw for 16 had a West Indies review not revealed a no-ball.
But Hope was still on 16 when his edged drive off Bess flew to first slip where Ben Stokes — captaining England in the absence of regular skipper Joe Root — held a sharp chance.
It was an encouraging moment for Stokes, who had brought on Bess early in Friday’s play despite England fielding four seamers.
All-rounder Stokes could have been forgiven for second-guessing himself after deciding to bat first on winning the toss and being involved in the decision to drop Broad, especially with Brathwaite completing a composed fifty.
But, as he has so often done before, Stokes made a vital breakthrough when he trapped Brathwaite in front of the stumps.
After lunch, Anderson had Shamarh Brooks caught behind for 39 before Jermaine Blackwood, on 12, gave his wicket away by driving Bess straight to Anderson at mid-off.
Wicket-keeper/batsman Dowrich, however, drove Bess for two fours in three balls before, on 25, he hammered a drive the Somerset bowler could only parry.
West Indies captain Jason Holder had led from the front to put his side on top with a Test-best 6-42 on Thursday. It was the sixth time in his past 10 Tests that Holder, the world’s top-ranked all-rounder, had taken five wickets in an innings.
Broad, meanwhile, sought reassurance about his England future after being dropped for the series opener.
England’s decision to go with Anderson, Archer and Wood snapped Broad’s run of 51 consecutive home Tests.
“I’m not a particularly emotional person but I’ve found the last couple of days quite tough,” the right-arm paceman told Sky Sports. “To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement: you get disappointed if you drop your phone and break your screen.
“I’ve been frustrated, angry and gutted — because it’s quite a hard decision to understand.
“I’ve probably bowled the best I’ve ever bowled in the last couple of years. I felt like it was my shirt having been in the team through the Ashes and going to South Africa and winning there.”
ENGLAND (1st Innings) 204 (B.A. Stokes 43; J.O. Holder 6-42, S.T. Gabriel 4-62).
WEST INDIES: (1st Innings, overnight 57-1):
K.C. Brathwaite lbw b Stokes 65
J.D. Campbell lbw b Anderson 28
S.D. Hope c Stokes b Bess 16
S.S.J. Brooks c Buttler b Anderson 39
R.L. Chase not out 27
J. Blackwood c Anderson b Bess 12
S.O. Dowrich nit out 30
EXTRAS (LB-17, NB-1) 18
TOTAL (for five wkts, 80 overs) 235
FALL OF WKTS: 1-43, 2-102, 3-140, 4-173, 5-186.
TO BAT: J.O. Holder, K.A.J. Roach, A.S. Joseph, S.T. Gabriel.
BOWLING (to-date): Anderson 19-9-42-2; Archer 17-3-47-0 (1nb); Wood 16-2-54-0; Stokes 9-4-24-1; Bess 19-5-51-2.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2020