England 1st innings 399

West Indies 1st innings 155-4

Initial expectations of a score approaching 450 for England in their first innings proved premature, as the West Indies fought back in the first Test in the picturesque Antigua, on day two. After dismissing the tourists for 399, as the final five wickets fell for just 42 runs, the hosts had reached 155-4 by the close, as the match became more of a true contest between the two sides. England will still feel that they are ahead on points (and have the runs on the board), but will look for early wickets on day three to hopefully gain a handy lead to go into their second innings. For the West Indies, they will hope that the resilient Shivnarine Chanderpaul can continue his defiance at the crease to thwart the visitors' bowling unit, with his oddly crablike defence, once again, causing England problems.

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Resuming on a commanding 341-5, the stage looked to be set for Ben Stokes to move to his second century in Test match cricket and put the game beyond the Caribbean eleven, but it was not to be. Stokes added just eight more runs to his overnight score before being caught in the gully for 79 off Jerome Taylor's bowling. After his dismissal, there was a familiar clatter of wickets towards the end as captain Alastair Cook's late order batsmen offered little against a spirited bowling attack. Kemar Roach was the pick of the 'Windies' bowling unit with 4-94 to give the local supporters plenty to enthuse about in the grandly titled Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, in honour of their former legendary player.

At least the earlier than expected ending of the innings moved the game along and made a draw an unlikely scenario, as a result, with both sides looking for the victory.

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England's bowlers responded well to the challenge to reduce the hosts to 99-4 at one stage, as the West Indies looked to be in deep trouble. They were almost five down, but Stokes dismissed Jermaine Blackwood off a no-ball to earn the batsman a reprieve. Included among England's wicket takers was the ever-consistent James Anderson, with his 381st Test wicket in his landmark 100th Test, match nudging him ever closer to Sir Ian Botham's English record total of 383. If only Anderson's batting was as good as England's greatest all-rounder had been. With Wayne Rooney also eying up Bobby Charlton's England goals record in football, it seems likely to be a year for the established records to fall in international sport.

West Indies owed a debt of gratitude to Chanderpaul and Blackwood for ensuring that no further inroads were made into the batting line-up before the close, as they edged their way to 155-4. The cricket wasn't exhilarating but necessary, given the perilous position their side was facing, with Chanderpaul's extremely patient 29 runs coming from 98 balls. After the quickfire action during the cricket World Cup, this was more like old-school Test cricket but demonstrates what is possible with a bit of application. Having steadied the ship during the evening session, the home side will look to build on the more solid foundations they now have and move close to parity on the scoreboard on day three.