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Windies face uphill battle


Windies face uphill battle

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BIRMINGHAM, England – Rain halted a promising West Indies fightback after opener Alistair Cook struck his third career double-hundred to put England in command of the day/night opening Test at Edgbaston yesterday.

When rain halted play a mere seven overs after tea on the second day of the historic contest, the Windies were on 44 for one in their first innings, with debutant right-hander Kyle Hope unbeaten on 25 and opener Kieran Powell on 18.

They have so far added 44 for the second wicket following opener Kraigg Brathwaite’s demise at the hands of seamer Jimmy Anderson without scoring.

Earlier, England had piled up 514 for eight declared behind an excellent 243 from veteran left-hander Cook.

He began the day on 153 and all told faced 407 balls and struck 33 boundaries, before becoming the last of four wickets to tumble in the post-lunch session, triggering England’s declaration.

David Malan chipped in with 65 – his maiden Test half-century – but the Windies hit back in the second session, snatching four wickets for just 48 runs to limit the damage.

Off-spinner Roston Chase was behind the mini-collapse, finishing with four for 113 while seamer Kemar Roach failed to add to his overnight tally and ended with the two for 86.

Resuming the day on 348 for three in their first innings, England flourished as Cook and Malan extended their fourth-wicket stand to 162 before being separated.

They survived a testing period from Roach in the opening session before opening up, with Cook gathering back-to-back boundaries off pacer Alzarri Joseph’s first over – the 11th of the day – to move into the 170s.

He was perched on 182 at the first drinks break and reached his double-hundred about 25 minutes before lunch with a fortuitous boundary, guiding Roach to third man where Kyle Hope made a hash of a simple fielding effort on the ropes.

The left-handed Malan, meanwhile, picked off boundaries almost at will to reach his half-century and also appeared set for three figures when he edged one from Chase that spun, to be caught at first slip by Jermaine Blackwood in the last over before lunch. He faced 139 deliveries and struck ten fours.

After the break, West Indies enjoyed the better of the exchanges. In just the fourth over, Chase had the dangerous Ben Stokes caught by Blackwood at slip for ten, gloving a reverse sweep.



And Cook put on 34 for the sixth wicket with Jonny Bairstow, who made 18, before playing on, to give captain Jason Holder his only wicket, at 505 for six.

In the very next over, Moeen Ali holed out to Brathwaite at cover to give Chase his third wicket, and England called time on their innings when Cook played down the wrong line to Chase and was lbw on review.

Left with an hour to survive before tea, the Caribbean side lost Brathwaite in the third over, nicking a defensive prod at an Anderson outswinger to the wicketkeeper, without a run on the board.

But Kyle Hope and Powell overcame a testing time from the new-ball pair of Anderson and Stuart to reach tea at 13 for one before steadily growing in confidence afterwards.

Hope has so far struck four fours and faced 44 balls, while Powell, dropped on two by Stokes at gully off Broad at eight for one in the third over before tea, has also faced 44 deliveries and counted two boundaries.

However, the anticipated bad weather finally arrived about 25 minutes after tea, forcing players from the field and ending the action prematurely. (CMC)