Da Silva anchors Windies to the lead in the decider
ST GEORGE’S – A defiant, unbeaten half-century from Joshua da Silva earned West Indies a priceless 28-run lead so far over England in the deciding third Test on Friday in Grenada.
The Windies wicketkeeper-batsman was not out on 54 and anchored successive stands with Kyle Mayers, Alzarri Joseph, and Kemar Roach that dragged the Windies to 232 for eight, replying to the visitors’ first innings total of 204, when bad light stopped play on the second day at the National Cricket Stadium.
The hosts stumbled to 95 for six in the first hour after lunch when pacer Chris Woakes exploited the variable bounce in the pitch and grabbed three wickets in 14 balls to shift the momentum the English way.
But da Silva batted with a cool head and put on 33 with Barbados Pride left-hander Mayers, 49 with Joseph, and 55 unbroken with Pride stalwart Roach to blunt the England pacers and revive West Indies and keep them in the match.
Mayers made 28 before he was caught at mid-on off Ben Stokes, and Joseph got the same score before he was caught behind swinging loosely at a short delivery from Craig Overton, but Roach resisted and was not out on 25 at the close.
West Indies were 71 for three at lunch after the opening pair of their captain Kraigg Brathwaite and left-hander John Campbell put on exactly 50 for the first wicket.
Lack of bounce proved the undoing of Brathwaite and Barbados Pride teammate Shamarh Brooks, and they fell to Stokes for 17 and Saqib Mahmood for 13, respectively before Campbell was caught behind down the leg-side for 35 off Overton.
A succession of reviews and reprieves for Windies vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood and his Jamaica Scorpions teammate Nkrumah Bonner reigned in the early exchanges after lunch, but the Caribbean side stumbled to 134 for seven at tea.
Bonner was caught behind for four off Woakes when he took evasive action, but gloved a short, rising delivery, Jason Holder miscued an ill-advised hook and was caught at deeep square leg for a third-ball duck off the same bowler, who had Blackwood lbw playing back and across for 18.
After tea, Joseph stayed long enough to get West Indies within sight of taking the lead before he mistimed a pull at a short ball from Overton and was ccaught behind from an under edge.
In the final hour of play, which was interrupted by a brief stoppage for rain, Roach formalised the lead for the Windies when he edged Stokes to third man for his second four and Da Silva reached his 50 from 134 balls when he pulled Overton for the last of his four boundaries.
Woakes ended the day with 3-28 from 20 overs, Stokes battled through discomfort in his left knee and finished with 2-40 from 16 overs, and Overton persevered to take 2-71 from 20 overs.
The three-Test series for the newly-minted Vivian Richards and Ian Botham Trophy is level at 0-0 after the first two Tests in the series – at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua and Kensington Oval in Barbados – were drawn.
ENGLAND 204 (Saqib Mahmood 49, Jack Leach 41, Alex Lees 31, Chris Woakes 25, Craig Overton 14; Jayden Seales 3-40, Kyle Mayers 2-13, Alzarri Joseph 2-33, Kemar Roach 2-41).
WEST INDIES 232 for eight (Joshua da Silva 54 not out, John Campbell 35, Kyle Mayers 28, Alzarri Joseph 28, Kemar Roach 25 not out, Jermaine Blackwood 18, Kraigg Brathwaite 17, Shamarh Brooks 13; Chris Woakes 3-48, ).