West Indies 299
England 74-0 (after day two of five)
England look to have established a promising position for themselves by the end of day two of the second Test against the West Indies. Despite a second day in a row that was limited due to rain delays in Grenada, they were able to dismiss the home side for less than 300. That allowed Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott to reduce the arrears to 225 by close of play, with all ten first innings' wickets still intact. Stuart Broad was their star man with the ball in hand, claiming 4-61 in a wonderful spell of pace bowling. Marlon Samuels duly scored the century that he deserved after his first day resilience, but was then swiftly removed by James Anderson.
After the loss of twenty overs on the opening day, the tourists sensed the need to move the game along at a quicker rhythm on day two. Chasing a first Test win on the road since 2012, their first task was to remove Samuels after his defiant knock on day one. With the sledging of Ben Stokes clearly only stiffening Samuels' resolve, they turned to Anderson instead. It seemed to work as he finally ended his 286 minute vigil on 103, thanks to Ian Bell's safe hands. Samuels' 6th wicket partnership of 94 with captain Denesh Ramdin formed the backbone of the West Indies' innings.
With their 'rock' gone, that seemed to open the floodgates as the next three wickets fell shortly after. Ramdin (31), Jason Holder (22) and Kemar Roach (1) were soon all back in the pavilion as Broad began to find his form to dismiss all three, leaving the hosts struggling once more at 247-9. England were frustrated by a gritty 10th wicket stand of 52 between Shannon Gabriel and Devendra Bishoo that may yet prove vital to the West Indies' chances of getting something from the game. Bishoo was eventually trapped LBW by Moeen Ali, but not before he had scored 30 potentially priceless runs in what could yet prove to be a low scoring match. His partner Gabriel remained unbeaten on 20 as the home side ended on 299 all out.
That left England with 26 overs until the close to eat into their arrears and they had reached a mainly undisturbed 74-0 by that point. The visitors decided to persevere with the opening partnership of Cook and Trott that was unsuccessful in the first Test, with the initial signs looking better in Grenada. Both Cook (37) and Trott (32) were unbeaten at the end and will look to develop their stand on the third day. With a solid base behind them, England should then be able to allow their middle order more free rein to up the scoring rate and pile on the runs. Stokes and Jos Buttler would seem ideally suited to that role given their power hitting abilities. That may yet be wishful thinking though, with neither side having been able to score above three an over on the pitch at St George's so far in the match. Such slow scoring, allied to the weather interruptions, may yet prove problematic for England in forcing a result. #Cricket