England 240-7 (after day one)
The headline news from the Caribbean was Alastair Cook's first Test century for his country in 35 attempts. Around him there was mainly disarray, as England stuttered to 240-7 on day one of the Third Test against the West Indies. Only Moeen Ali's half-century offered any tangible back-up to the captain's classy innings.
After the heroics of James Anderson on the final day in Grenada, England need to manage only a draw in Bridgetown, Barbados to clinch the three-match series. They will need to match the focus of their skipper's knock yesterday if they are to achieve that though, as his fellow batsman seemed to give their wickets away far too cheaply at the top of the order.
Batting first on day one, England got off to the worst of starts. The trial of Jonathan Trott as an opener again failed, as he was dismissed by Shannon Gabriel for a duck. Cook and Gary Ballance (18) added 38 for the second wicket, before the Yorkshire player was bowled by Jason Holder. It was soon 38-3 as Ian Bell went without troubling the scorers, handing a simple caught and bowled chance to Holder. English fans were beginning to question the wisdom of Cook's decision to bat after winning the toss.
That at least brought England's rock of recent innings to the crease, as Joe Root joined Cook out in the middle. He started well, scoring at almost a run a ball as another fifty looked his for the taking. Yet one injudicious shot too many was his undoing, as he feathered a catch to Denesh Ramdin behind the stumps off Veerasammy Permaul. He had made 33 and at 91-4, the visitors' position was looking perilous once more.
Thankfully they still had Moeen to come, batting down the order at number six. In partnership with Cook they began the running repairs necessary to patch up the innings. It was (mainly) steady going as ever on the West Indies' pitches for the batsmen. Moeen passed his fifty and the score was progressing nicely towards the 200 mark.
Sadly for England fans another mix up in the running between the wickets cost them Moeen on 58. You would think that lessons would have been learned after the problems in the second Test, but clearly not. Shai Hope benefited this time from the batsmen's uncertainty to run Moeen out. The sixth wicket stand had yielded a vital 98 runs.
Ben Stokes joined Cook for over an hour before he too fell on 22 to Gabriel. Hope was clearly getting used to his surroundings on his Test debut as he took the catch. That left Cook's men on 233-6, but at least the opener was still there. He couldn't quite bat through the day though, as his 266-ball vigil was finally brought to an end and with it brought the close of play. His 26th Test century had a moment of fortune earlier, when an appeal for a catch was turned down by the umpire. #CricketThere was relief for Cook to score 105, but Marlon Samuels' wicket may well have tipped the balance back in the West Indies' favour. The second day will tell us more as to whether England are off the pace with 240-7 or not. If they could somehow edge towards the 300 mark, their bowlers would have far more to work with.