Broad, Woakes, Set Up Thrilling Day 5

At 235-4, the West Indies would have confident of batting out day four, and then saving this second test match against England. However, the second new ball arrived, and so did Stuart Broad. The experienced 34 year old bowled a brilliant spell of 7 overs, and 3 wickets for 7 runs after tea, taking the key wickets of Shamarh Brooks, lbw for 68, Jermaine Blackwood, bowled for 0, and Shane Dowrich, also lbw, also for 0. This left the WIndies reeling at 252-7, and although Roston Chase and Kemar Raoch managed a penultimate wicket partnership of 27 to avoid the follow on, England, batting again, led by 219 going into the final day.


Play started with night-watchman Alzarri Joseph getting some fluky runs. He at times looked graceful, and, at times awful, including when he was dropped early on. However, Dom Bess dismissed him with his second ball, as he found turn and bounce and a good short leg catcher in Ollie Pope, Joseph gone for 32. It was though, Bess' only wicket for the day, as he struggled to find the perfect length.


England then found themselves struggling despite the wicket of Joseph, as Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite added 53. This was before Sam Curran draw the edge of Hope's bat from a cutter, a skilful piece of bowling to remove the hero of Headingley 2017 for 25. This further failure from Hope may threaten his place in the side for the final test, especially if he doesn't make runs tomorrow.


Despite his fall, England found themselves again struggling for a breakthrough, as Brooks and Brathwaite took the tourists further toward their target of avoiding the follow on. They were just 71 runs from it, when England's short-ball plan worked, as Brathwaite, on 75, chipped a return catch to Stokes, who bowled 11 consecutive overs of 88% short stuff. England were lucky to get this wicket, having looked lifeless at times, but getting the man who could have batted all day gave them a small opening.


Despite Brathwaite's fall, the game was drifting away from England until that Stuart Broad spell. It was made the more impressive given he had also bowled some around-the-wicket short theorem either side of tea, and, further confirms how good he his when he gets it right with the new ball. England will also be encouraged as the dismissals of Brooks and Blackwood both stayed low, as this rather slow pitch may have some spice for them as they look to bowl out the West Indies again tomorrow.


At the other end, it was Chris Woakes who finished off the innings. He found some bounce to have Jason Holder caught at slip for 2. While Chase played well for 51, he was found lbw on review, and Shannon Gabriel was bowled by a beautiful slower ball without adding to the score. The West Indies had lost 45 for 6, and England had a chance.


They responded to this, and their first innings lead of 182, by sending Stokes and Jos Buttler to open the batting. However, Buttler dragged on a Roach delivery for a three ball duck. Enter Zak Crawley, who scored the only boundary of the innings so far (an edge through slip), and was bowled by Roach going for a very expansive drive. Joe Root joined Stokes, and the pair took England to close on 37/2 from eight overs, with Stokes 16* and Root 8*. With the field back, scoring boundaries was difficult, although England's batters didn't give themselves much of a chance to get in, and when singles were available every ball, perhaps they misjudged the situation slightly.


No matter though, as, with 98 overs scheduled for tomorrow, and a lead of 219, England have a good chance of winning this game. However, the West Indies will fight, and if they fight well enough, could sneak a victory. One thing is for certain, the return of cricket has not disappointed, and day 5 will be a thriller to follow, especially as this game looked dead earlier today at tea.


Find the day's scorecard here

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