The third Test of the ‘Raise the bat’ series between England and West Indies kicked-off in Manchester on Friday (July 24). Both the teams have won one game each of the three-match series before locking horns in the series decider at Old Trafford.
Unlike the second Test, Windies bowler started pretty well on Day 1 of the third Test after Jason Holder won the toss and opted to field first. Caribbean speedster Kemar Roach drew first blood in the opening spell. He bowled a ripper to Dominic Sibley, who had no clue to deal with the ball at all. It struck on the pads and Sibley was adjudged leg-before wicket. The centurion in the previous game walked back to the pavilion for a duck.
Then came England skipper Joe Root, who added 46-runs with opening batsman Rory Burns before being run-out. It never looked like there was any hesitation in running between the wickets, just a single was poorly judged. Roston Chase, who was positioned at backward point, reacted aptly to collect the ball and hit the throw right on target to make a second successive run-out for Root in the series.
As if the trouble was not enough for the hosts, Roach came again and got the goldfish. During the 35th over of England’s first innings, Roach bowled a peach of a delivery which shattered the defence of Ben Stokes, and England lost their third wicket for 92.
Thirty runs later, the Root-led side received another rock bottom as set batsman Burns (57) was once again hunted down by none other than off-spinner Chase. It was the third occasion when Chase got the wicket of Burns in this series. Although, the real credit went to Rakheem Cornwall who grabbed a stunner in the slips.
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West Indies were looking solid to put more pressure on England as the hosts were losing wickets at regular intervals. However, then middle-order batsman Ollie Pope and wicket-keeper batter Jos Buttler steadied the ship.
The duo stitched a crucial partnership for the fifth wicket by adding 136 runs off 230 balls to take control away from the visitors.
Bad weather ended the first day few overs early, but England was right back in the game. At stumps, England reached 258/4 as Buttler remained not out on 56 and Pope was unbeaten on 91.