England finish first day of third Test on 46-4, 77 runs behind the tourists.
Jason Holder and Kemar Roach give West Indies hope after Ben Stokes shines with the ball for England at Lord's
West Indies captain Jason Holder and Kemar Roach kept their side’s hopes of a first Test series win in England in 29 years alive with two wickets apiece to leave the third Test at Lord’s finely poised after Thursday’s opening day.
England will resume on Friday at 2pm UAE time on 46-4, 77 runs adrift of the tourists who had been bowled out for 123 after Holder had chosen to bat after winning the toss.
The stage had been set for James Anderson to become only the sixth bowler, and the first Englishman, to reach 500 Test wickets, but instead it was teammate Ben Stokes who took centre stage in the deciding Test of the three-match series, with the sides level at 1-1.
Anderson had begun the day on 497, and it looked as if he would chalk up his milestone quickly as he dismissed Kraigg Brathwaite and Kyle Hope to reduce the West Indies to 22-2 and move himself onto the 499 marker.
But, that was all the wickets that Anderson (2-31) would get, with Stokes ripping through the West Indies middle order after Kieran Powell (39) and Shai Hope (29) had offered some resistance with a stand of 56 for the third wicket.
He took 6-22 from 14.3 overs as the West Indies lost their final eight wickets for 45 runs.
But, England’s batsmen continued their inconsistent form, which has been their weakness all summer, as they failed to build on the hard work of their bowlers.
Roach had both openers Mark Stoneman (1) and Alastair Cook (10) caught behind by wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich to immediately put England on the backfoot.
Tom Westley was trapped leg before by Holder for just eight, before Joe Root, the England captain, fell to only his second ball, having scored one, as he was caught by Powell off Holder.
England were 24-4 at that point, but Dawid Malan (13 not out) and Stokes (13) saw out the final four overs of the day to move England through without further loss before bad light ended play early.
Stokes said England were still upbeat over their position in the match, despite being four wickets down.
The all-rounder told Sky Sports in England: “It was a difficult pitch to bat on, we would have liked to have had one or two wickets down but overall we are happy.”
As to his best performance in a Test match for England, Stokes added: “Bowling in the warm-up this morning, the ball was swinging, so it wasn’t surprising when we saw how much the ball was doing.
“Rooty kept asking me how I was feeling. Sometimes the more I bowl the less tired I feel. I felt in really good rhythm. Knowing the ball would swing helped that.”
As to denying Anderson his 500th wicket with his own endeavours, Stokes added: “He’s got another innings to get it and what a place to do it.”