West Indies 299
England 373-6 (after day three)
Three days into the 2nd Test against the West Indies and England are in complete control once again. In scenes reminiscent of the Antigua Test that preceded it, the tourists are establishing a decent first innings' lead. Already 74 runs ahead of their opponents, they still have firepower to come and the unflappable Joe Root remains unbeaten overnight on 118. After pleasing knocks from captain Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Gary Ballance, the batsmen look to be in decent order at last. Time is against them though, with quick runs and a lead of 100 - 150 looking the most likely scenario on day four. They will then need to bowl better than in the first Test to force a result out of what still looks to be a basically placid (if a bit slow) pitch.
The openers Cook and Trott resumed on the 3rd morning with 74 runs already on the board. Both were keen for a good score after a disappointing start to their pairing in the 1st Test. They moved their partnership past the milestone century mark and looked set for individual three figure scores as well. Sadly for them, Trott fell with the total on 125 not long after reaching his half-century. Cook had his stumps shattered by Shannon Gabriel when he had made 76, closely followed by Ian Bell's dismissal to leave the match interestingly poised with the visitors on 164-3.
Yorkshire's finest, Ballance and Root steadied any nerves in the away side's dressing room and accelerated the scoring before tea. Appropriately in honour of St George at the ground with the same name, they added 165 for the 4th wicket. Ballance made a fine 77 before Marlon Samuels bowled him, but Root remained steadfast to claim his 6th Test century. Cook will have been disappointed to lose Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes cheaply late on, but Jos Buttler is capable of scoring quickly on the 4th day with Root.
Moeen's return to the side has not been a big success so far, with a catch and one wicket from his spin when the West Indies batted. More important was a duck in England's innings, as he was run out by Jermaine Blackwood after coming in at number six. The calls for Adil Rashid to be given his chance in the 3rd Test will no doubt increase, if Moeen does no better in his 2nd knock (if the match gets that far).
The sub plot that has been bubbling along between Stokes and Samuels continued. Samuels still seems to have the upper hand after Stokes' sledging antics failed to interrupt his batting on the way to a 1st innings' century. His comical salute as Stokes was making his way off, after being dismissed for just 8 will have amused his teammates, even if it may have little bearing on the match itself. #Cricket