|Second Test, Emirates Old Trafford (day four of five)|
|England 469-9 dec (Stokes 176, Sibley 120) & 37-2|
|West Indies 287 (Brathwaite 75, Brooks 68, Chase 51)|
|England lead by 219|
An explosive spell from Stuart Broad on the fourth evening kept alive England’s hopes of winning the second Test against West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford.
Broad, who said he was “angry, frustrated and gutted” to be left out of the first Test, took three wickets in 14 deliveries with the second new ball to inspire the home side after West Indies looked to be batting towards a position of safety.
Kraigg Brathwaite made 75 and Shamarh Brooks 68, but when Brooks was trapped lbw by Broad it began a slide from 242-4 to 260-8.
Roston Chase’s 51 dragged the tourists past the follow-on mark, only for Chris Woakes to remove him and Shannon Gabriel in the same over to bowl West Indies out for 287, 182 behind.
The sight of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler striding out to open the batting for England 40 minutes from the close was thrilling, evoking memories of the World Cup final super over a year ago.
However, in a chaotic eight overs Buttler fell for a duck and Zak Crawley 10 to leave England 37-2, leading by 219.
They will continue the quest for quick runs on Monday, setting up a declaration before looking to take the 10 wickets that would level the three-match series at 1-1.
England pace bowler Jofra Archer, who was dropped from this Test for breaching the bio-secure protocols, returned to training by bowling in the nets.
England set up victory push
With the third day lost to rain and West Indies blunting England’s attack for most of the fourth, this match seemed destined to meander to the draw that would see the tourists retain the Wisden Trophy.
Indeed, for so long Sunday’s most noteworthy occurrence was Dom Sibley absent-mindedly breaching coronavirus playing conditions by applying saliva to the ball, resulting in the umpires having to sanitise it.
That was all changed by Broad’s brilliant burst and the contest is now set for an intriguing conclusion on Monday.
Although West Indies have been solid with the bat in this series, England will feel they have a genuine chance of bowling them out on a pitch that is starting to show uneven bounce.
England captain Joe Root will have to calculate his declaration carefully, not only to give his bowlers enough time, but possibly leave West Indies a target that could tempt them into a run-chase.
West Indies are likely to be focused on survival, but they will know victory would secure a first series win in England since 1988.
Broad ignites England hopes
After West Indies resumed on 32-1, England were frustrated by the stubbornness of the batting, the lack of pace in the pitch and several half-chances that were missed.
The pace bowlers were struggling to find movement and off-spinner Dom Bess could not find a consistent length, even if he had nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph turn to short leg before Shai Hope was caught behind off the wholehearted Sam Curran.
Stokes did not bowl until after lunch, and the sight of him banging in short ball after short ball during a tireless 11-over spell highlighted the absence of Archer’s pace.
Stokes eventually got his reward when Brathwaite patted back a return catch, meaning England had opened an end just before the second new ball was due.
Broad took it and brought the game to life with a full length, some variable bounce and nagging consistency. Both Brooks and Shane Dowrich were trapped on the crease to be lbw either side of Jermaine Blackwood being bowled by one that kept low.
Woakes took over, enticing Jason Holder to edge to second slip, correctly using a review to have Chase lbw and, five balls later, bowling Gabriel.
Windies defiance eventually broken
A week on from a superb run-chase that won them the first Test at the Ageas Bowl, West Indies were once again looking to repel the England attack.
In avoiding the follow-on, they have at least removed England’s quickest option of winning the game, and the tourists will need more defiance on Monday to keep their lead intact.
Opener Brathwaite was characteristically determined, playing some sweet on-drives and punches through the off side, while Brooks needed moments of fortune, particularly when he was being peppered by Stokes.
Chase, who took 5-172 in England’s first innings, overturned being given lbw to Curran on 14.
When Holder fell, West Indies still needed 10 to avoid the follow-on with two wickets in hand, only for Chase to get them to 270 with two fours off Curran.
The tourists could have been severely pressured by Buttler and Stokes, but Kemar Roach held his nerve. Buttler dragged on and Crawley was bowled having a wild swipe as England got carried away.
‘Drawing is not what England are about’ – what they said
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special: “England have given themselves a great chance.
“They did the right thing with the batting line-up – it showed good intent. They will want to get another 60 and have 85 overs to make sure they have a second new ball.
“This is a series England expected to win. Drawing the series is not what they are about.
“The pitch is starting to play tricks. If West Indies see off the first new ball then they have a chance but it is not going to be easy.
“Joe Root will have West Indies’ win at Headingley in 2017 on his mind. That is bound to have some small effect.”
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “The England captain will have a few things to think about for tomorrow. There is a terrific final day set up.”
Ex-England captain Alastair Cook on BBC TV: “A brilliant day’s Test cricket. Just when it looked like England were out of the game, they took six wickets to set it up brilliantly for tomorrow.”
West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite on TMS: “It would be reckless for West Indies to go into tomorrow thinking about the win.
“They have to go out with positive intent and get to tea. Don’t find yourself 80-6. England have to force the game.”