SOUTHAMPTON: Roston Chase proved a thorn in England’s side once again as West Indies strengthened their grip on the first Test at Southampton on Saturday.
England were 168-3 in their second innings at tea on the fourth day at the Ageas Bowl, just 54 runs ahead of West Indies’ first innings 318.
Chase had taken 2-45 in 19 overs, although both Rory Burns and Joe Denly donated their wickets to the off-spinner.
And in between their exits, Dom Sibley — bowled off a no-ball immediately after completing his half century — fell for exactly fifty when he was caught down the leg-side off Shannon Gabriel.
Zak Crawley was 38 not out, with England stand-in captain Ben Stokes yet to get off the mark.
All-rounder Stokes, leading the side in the absence of Joe Root, had top-scored with 43 in England’s lowly first-innings 204.
The paceman, second to West Indies captain Jason Holder in the ICC’s Test all-rounder rankings, then led from the front with the ball as well by taking 4-49.
England resumed on Saturday on 15-0 in ideal sunny batting conditions on a placid pitch.
West Indies were without a frontline spinner after omitting Rahkeem Cornwall.
But they could call upon Chase, who although a batting all-rounder took a Test-best 8-60 when West Indies beat England at his Barbados home ground last year en route to a 2-1 series win.
And having already made 47 in this match, he removed well-set opener Burns for 42 when the left-hander saw a careless cut caught at backward point to end a first-wicket stand of 72.
Sibley pressed on to a painstaking fifty off 161 balls. The very next delivery saw Sibley play on to Gabriel only for third umpire Michael Gough to rule the fast bowler had over-stepped.
It was a desperately close no-ball call but, two balls later, Sibley glanced fast bowler Gabriel to diving wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich and was out for exactly 50.
This was not the first time in his seven Tests Sibley had been caught down the leg-side, with England fast bowler Jofra Archer also dismissing him in similar fashion during an intra-squad warm-up match.
Denly, averaging under 30 in Test cricket and needing a big score to cement his place in the side, then undid all his hard work by tamely chipping Chase to Holder at short midwicket.
Late on Friday, Chase and Dowrich stitched together an 81-run partnership to give the visitors control of the match before Chase was trapped lbw by James Anderson for 47, with the on-field umpire’s not out decision overturned on review.
Holder was dismissed by Stokes for five before Alzarri Joseph departed for a quickfire 18 with his stumps sent cartwheeling by Stokes for his 150th Test wicket.
Dowrich’s 115-ball vigil came to an end when he was strangled down the leg-side by Stokes, feathering an edge to wicket-keeper Jos Buttler for 61. West Indies’ innings came to an end when Gabriel was bowled by seamer Mark Wood.
Shamarh Brooks struck six boundaries in his lively 39 from 71 balls before he edged to Buttler off Anderson with his review unsuccessful.
ENGLAND (1st Innings) 204 (B.A. Stokes 43; J.O. Holder 6-42, S.T. Gabriel 4-62).
WEST INDIES (1st Innings):
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 lbw b Anderson 47
J. Blackwood c Anderson b Bess 12
S.O. Dowrich c Buttler b Stokes 61
J.O. Holder c Archer b Stokes 5
A.S. Joseph b Stokes 18
K.A.J. Roach not out 1
S.T. Gabriel b Wood 4
EXTRAS (LB-21, NB-1) 22
TOTAL (all out, 102 overs) 318
FALL OF WKTS: 1-43, 2-102, 3-140, 4-173, 5-186, 6-267, 7-281, 8-306, 9-313.
BOWLING: Anderson 25-1-62-3; Archer 22-3-61-0 (1nb); Wood 22-2-74-1; Stokes 14-5-49-4; Bess 19-5-51-2.
ENGLAND (2nd Innings, overnight 15-0):
R.J. Burns c Campbell b Chase 42
D.P. Sibley c Dowrich b Gabriel 50
J.L. Denly c Holder b Chase 29
Z. Crawley not out 38
B.A. Stokes not out 0
EXTRAS (LB-8, NB-1) 9
TOTAL (for three wkts, 70 overs) 168
FALL OF WKTS: 1-72, 2-113, 3-151.
BOWLING (to-date): Roach 16-7-32-0; Gabriel 12-2-34-1 (1nb); Holder 12-6-23-0; Chase 19-6-45-2; Joseph 10-0-23-0; Brathwaite 1-0-3-0.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2020