England 399 and 333-7 declared

West Indies 295 and 98-2

Yorkshire's Gary Ballance scored a timely century for his adopted country on day four of the first test against the West Indies. His knock of 122 was allied to fine half-centuries by Joe Root and wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, which allowed England to declare on 333-7 and set the West Indies a formidable target of 438 to chase in their second innings. The hosts had been reduced to 98-2 by the close of play, leaving England requiring 8 further wickets on the final day to claim a likely Test match victory.

The Zimbabwe-born left-hander, Ballance had been disappointing during the recent #Cricket World Cup and could only score a paltry 10 runs in the first innings in Antigua, so it would have come as a welcome relief that he finally got himself back among the runs. All the batsmen currently in the side are no doubt acutely aware of Kevin Pietersen's desire to push for a recall, knowing that the only way to be certain of keeping him out of the selectors' thoughts will be to score plenty of runs themselves.

England have been generally on top throughout this Test match and their progress on day four would have been pretty much to script, scoring the runs they required at a quick enough pace to allow a declaration with plenty of overs left in the day. Resuming on 116-3, Ballance and Root extended their partnership for the 4th wicket to 114 before Root was bowled for 59, unluckily playing on to mirror his first innings dismissal. His Yorkshire teammate continued to flourish though, reaching three figures for the 4th time in only nine Test matches, with a landmark first century overseas. That solid base allowed the likes of Ben Stokes (35) and especially Buttler (59 not out) to play as they like to do when they come in to bat, hitting rapid runs to move the scoring rate along. With sufficient runs on the board, Alastair Cook was able to make the declaration before tea.

The tourists would have been hopeful of removing more than the two wickets they managed to prise out before the close of play, which offers some hope for the West Indies of yet saving this Test match on the final day. There was an early breakthrough for Stuart Broad, as he caused Kraigg Brathwaite to fend off a short delivery straight to Root standing at short leg. However, England had to wait until almost the end of play before further success came their way, when Darren Bravo's resilience was broken thanks to a smart catch by Chris Jordan off Root's occasional spin. Devon Smith remained unbeaten on 59 overnight and demonstrated that the remaining wickets are likely to require patient bowling from the visitors to winkle them out. A West Indies' victory looks the most unlikely of the potential outcomes now, although England would probably prefer the Caribbean side to chase the runs to provide them with wicket-taking opportunities. More likely it will develop into a battle of attrition, especially if Shivnarine Chanderpaul spends much time at the crease.