And welcome to live coverage of the third day’s play from North Sound. West Indies begin 85 runs ahead on first innings in all likelihood, given England’s flaky batting so far on tour, already enough for victory. England’s Stuart Broad bowled with skill and heart and the bowlers have been let down by two dolly drops at third slip and a tougher but presentable one at cover.
Ben Stokes has again been bowling with great ferocity and persistence but has been too wide too frequently and James Anderson has taken one for the team by operating from the Andy Roberts End for too long instead of being employed in short bursts from that end before being switched when Broad had enjoyed his burst. Moeen did a professional, accomplished job, bowling an entire session to tie the West Indies up but Sam Curran has sadly been too pop gun.
Darren Bravo has knitted the West Indies innings together with great fortitude, playing against type to dig in for his side in the manner that Kraigg Brathwaite started the day. Vital contributions from John Campbell and Shai Hope have taken their toll on the bowler’s legs and spirit while the captain, Jason Holder, batted with the authority of a man who had just hit a chanceless double century. All in ll an absorbing day’s play but England, though winning the second session, are severely under the cosh again despite unimpeachable effort.
If there is hope, it lies in
the proles the knowledge that a breakthrough exposes Roach, Joseph and Gabriel, none of who should trouble England’s attack on this pitch. But first they have to make a quick breakthrough or risk being demoralised should they not dismiss one of the overnight batsmen and encouraging nine, 10 and jack into the kind of defiance that kills teams waiting to bat. Even if they do wrap it up quickly, they have to bat tenaciously. Time to channel the spirit of the barnacle as Bravo and Brathwaite have done so successfully if that style of batting is not too challenging for them.