x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

England set daunting total

England set the West Indies an improbable 503-run victory target as they pushed for a series-levelling success in the third Test.

England set the West Indies an improbable 503-run victory target as they pushed for a series-levelling success in the third Test. Captain Andrew Strauss called off the run charge as soon as his team passed the 500 mark at the Antigua Recreation Ground. Opener Alastair Cook weighed in with his second half-century of the match while Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen also committed themselves to a dash for quick runs after lunch on the fourth day. The midafternoon declaration has therefore given the England attack four-and-a-half sessions to dismiss the hosts and lock the series at 1-1. Never has a side chased a score in excess of 500 to win a Test match, although the record pursuit was recorded on this very ground by West Indies six years ago when they made 418 for seven to defeat Australia.

The hosts will resume on the final morning on 143-3, required to bat for three sessions to prevent England levelling the series at 1-1. Steve Harmison made the initial inroad, however, when he pinned opener Devon Smith back on his stumps. That began a clatter of three wickets in 10 overs as off-spinner Graeme Swann outfoxed the dangerous Chris Gayle for a sixth success of the match and Ryan Hinds tamely drove to mid-on off Stuart Broad. But two of West Indies' big guns, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, negotiated the final hour without further mishap. *PA Sport