LNP – Pope, Buttler keep WI at bay with century stand

Half centuries from opener Rory Burns, Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler helped England reach a modest 258 for four in their first innings on the opening day of the third and deciding Test against the West Indies which commenced at Old Trafford, Manchester today (24).

Burns made a composed fifty off 126 balls before a promising fourth-wicket partnership of 30 with Surrey teammate Pope ended in dramatic fashion. An edged cut off Chase flew to first slip where the giant Cornwall, belying his six feet six inches and some 22 stone frame, demonstrated brilliant reactions to hold an outstanding one-handed catch.

However, Pope and Buttler repaired the early damage with an unfinished 136-run stand for the fifth-wicket with the former unbeaten on 91 with 11 fours from 142 deliveries. Buttler was unbeaten on 56 from 120 balls inclusive of two sixes and five boundaries.

Earlier, fast bowler Kemar Roach removed second-Test century-makers Dom Sibley and talisman Ben Stokes for just 20 as the hosts struggled to reach 131 for four at tea.

England dropped number three batsman Zak Crawley and left-arm paceman Sam Curran, with their places taken by express quick Jofra Archer and veteran spearhead James Anderson.

Captain Joe Root was promoted to number three, with Stokes moving up to four.

Root was in early with opener Sibley out for a five-ball duck after West Indies Captain Jason Holder won the toss on an overcast morning.

Sibley, who had frustrated the West Indies with a near eight-hour hundred in the second Test, was lbw playing across the line to a full-length delivery from Roach.

The West Indies had a scare when Shannon Gabriel limped off midway through his fourth over but he came back on, a relief for the tourists given they had just three specialist quick bowlers.

England, after making steady progress, gifted the West Indies a second wicket.

Burns cut Cornwall and Root, going for a tight single, failed to beat Chase’s direct hit from backward point and was run out for 17.

His exit brought in Stokes, playing after a quad injury cast doubt over his bowling fitness.

But with the Durham all-rounder’s innings of 176 and 78 not out pivotal to England’s 113-run win in the second Test, also in Manchester, that saw them level this series at 1-1, it was no surprise to see him effectively deployed as a specialist batsman.

The paceman tested him out with a couple of short balls and, having previously moved a couple of deliveries away from the left-handed batsman, clean bowled Stokes with one that seamed back to leave England at 92 for three. (Agencies)


1st innings

  • R. Burns c Cornwall b Chase 57
  • D. Sibley lbw b Roach 00
  • J. Root run out 17
  • B. Stokes b Roach 20
  • O. Pope not out 91
  • J. Buttler not out 56

Extras: (nb2, b12, lb3) 17

Total (4 wickets, 85.4 overs) 258

Fall: 1-1, 2-47, 3-92, 4-122

Bowling: Roach 18.4-2-56-2, Gabriel 18-4-47-0, Holder 20-5-45-0, Cornwall 21-4-71-0, Chase 8-2-24-1 

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