Wicket! Bess b Gabriel 3 (England 278-7)
Another one! Bess gets a beauty from Gabriel, shaping in, straightening a touch, and thudding into the off stump.
101st over: England 277-6 (Pope 11, Bess 3) Roach, replacing Joseph, beats Pope as he tries to cut. He gets it right next ball, but only collects a single as there’s a sweeper out – vindication, perhaps, for Holder’s cautious field setting. Bess digs out another yorker, which makes you wonder if the Windies’ analyst has detected a weakness in that department.
100th over: England 276-6 (Pope 10, Bess 3) Gabriel, stiff though he was earlier, is summoned for one last spell as Holder takes a break. He beats Bess outside off stump, but these two young men are still there, keeping England in the game. The question is, how big does the lead need to be?
99th over: England 276-6 (Pope 10, Bess 3) Just a single off Joseph, who has bowled well this evening.
“All of a sudden,” says Guy Hornsby, “this is a bit of a rum do.” Note for overseas readers: this is one of the most savage insults at an Englishman’s disposal. “I love Jos as much as the next man, and his talent is prodigious, but I’m struggling to recall the last Test he really left his mark on. Yet it seems he’s one of the anointed, semi-undroppable. Penny for Ben Foakes’s thoughts.” Buttler did have a very good run for a year after being recalled in 2018, but you’re right, he has lost his way since. And England have ended up in a muddle with their embarrassment of keepers. One thing I’d say in his defence is that the decision to take the vice-captaincy away from him and hand it back to Stokes seemed to be made – by Ashley Giles and Tom Harrison, as far as I could tell – with plenty of thought for Stokes and none for Buttler.
98th over: England 275-6 (Pope 10, Bess 2) Pope finds a way to make more than the odd run off Holder, conjuring a flick for two and a whip for four. What a talent he is.
97th over: England 267-6 (Pope 3, Bess 1) An eventful maiden from Joseph. West Indies, Michael Holding notes, have now had five unsuccessful reviews in a row, after starting this Test with five successful ones. So even reviews are subject to the laws of ebb and flow.
Another reprieve for Bess – it’s umpire’s call, just clipping the leg stump.
Review! For LBW against Bess
It’s all happening. If Bess hasn’t hit this ball from Joseph, it may well be out.
Dropped! Bess by Dowrich off Joseph
A regulation nick, and Dowrich, moving low to his right, can only get the heel of his hand to it.
96th over: England 267-6 (Pope 3, Bess 1) Dom Bess takes one on the shoulder from Holder, then does well to dig out a yorker and get off the mark. Ollie Pope is looking busy, as he did in the first innings – until Holder dismissed him.
95th over: England 265-6 (Pope 2, Bess 0) A wicket maiden from Joseph, who also has an LBW appeal against Pope. Out of a clear blue sky, England have conjured a collapse, losing three wickets for 16. In a mixed-up world, at least there are some things we can rely on.
Wicket! Buttler b Joseph 9 (England 265-6)
Gone now! A fuller ball from Joseph, a great big gate from Buttler, and a clatter of timber. Are West Indies favourites now? A lot rests on the young shoulders of Pope and Bess.
94th over: England 265-5 (Pope 2, Buttler 9) Buttler didn’t play that ball well, staying legside while his head went over to the off, as Ebony Rainford-Brent now shows. But Buttler stays calm and bounces back with a lovely on-drive for four. The lead is 151.
Too high, and a bit wide to boot. What a good review by Buttler.
Review! Buttler given out
Holder appeals for LBW, it’s given, and it looks out unless it’s too high…
93rd over: England 260-5 (Pope 2, Buttler 5) A single for each batsman off Joseph, both on the leg side. One of them is fielded with his boot by Shannon Gabriel, who looks as stiff as the drink he is no doubt looking forward to.
92nd over: England 258-5 (Pope 1, Buttler 4) Holder, who is huge, bears down on Pope, who is on the short side, but manages to squeeze a single behind square leg. That’s the first run off Holder in this spell, which is quite something given that England were lording it when he came on.
91st over: England 257-5 (Pope 0, Buttler 4) Joseph does very well to get rid of Crawley, who had just picked up another four with a handsome pull. But the field is still fairly defensive, so Buttler is able to get going straightaway with a guide for four through the vacant gully.
Wicket!! Crawley c & b Joseph 76 (England 253-5)
One brings two! Crawley’s leading edge makes another appearance and gives Alzarri Joseph a sharp return catch as the ball is almost past his right hip. England are 139 for five, in effect, and West Indies are sniffing victory again.
90th over: England 249-4 (Crawley 72, Pope 0) So Stokes falls to Holder for the second time in the match, and again misses out on a fifty. Somehow you just know Stokes will return the insult tomorrow. The Stokes-Crawley partnership was excellent, adding 98 off 25.1 overs and taking England to a lead of 135. “All results possible,” says Nasser.
Wicket!! Stokes c Hope b Holder 46 (England 249-4)
Time for another round of Stokes v Holder – the rumble off the A27. And it’s a knockout! Holder posts two gullies, pushes Stokes back with a couple of short balls, and persuades him to give the finer of the gullies a simple catch. Great stuff.
89th over: England 249-3 (Crawley 72, Stokes 46) Stokes, facing Roach, jumps across to the off and uses his wrists to manufacture a hard-run two into the wasteland at midwicket. “Amazing ability,” says Ian Ward, “to go up and down through the gears.”
88th over: England 244-3 (Crawley 71, Stokes 42) Jason Holder is back at last, getting some nice lift and keeping Crawley quiet with his tight line.
In one of the empty stands, Ed Smith is chatting to Chris Silverwood, and they are roaring with laughter. Trying Crawley at four has worked a treat. Leaving out Stuart Broad – which was Silverwood and Stokes’s call, not Smith’s – hasn’t gone so well.
87th over: England 244-3 (Crawley 71, Stokes 42) Stokes, covering his stumps, pulls Roach for a couple, then on-drives again, less elegantly than in the last over, but with the same crunch and the same result. ”I think at the moment in Test cricket,” Nasser Hussain says, “Stokes is England’s best batsman.” Discuss.
86th over: England 238-3 (Crawley 71, Stokes 36) Stokes, facing Gabriel, wears another short ball, somewhere near his right hip, but it bothers him so little that he then launches into a classic on-drive. He’s made 24 off his last 31 balls. These powerful strokes have spread the field, so Crawley is able to take two for a defensive push into the leg side – though he does then fail to cash in on a full toss.
85th over: England 230-3 (Crawley 69, Stokes 31) After taking that blow, Crawley edges one and misses another, but he survives. In an inexperienced top four, he is the least experienced of all, aged just 22, but in this innings he’s performed like a senior player.
84.1 overs: England 228-3 (Crawley 67, Stokes 31) Crawley takes one from Roach in the groin and sinks to his knees. He’s OK but the umpires send for drinks. That half-session belonged firmly to England, who made 60 for none off 14.1 overs with some fine controlled aggression. When Crawley came in, the total was 113 for two off 51.3 overs; since, they’ve doubled the score in only 32.4 overs. The one thing Crawley doesn’t do is crawl.
84th over: England 228-3 (Crawley 67, Stokes 31) Crawley is standing in for Joe Root at four and now he turns into him, getting on top of the bounce and back-foot driving Gabriel for four. Then he comes down to earth with a Harrow cut, which brings a single and his highest Test score. Stokes, who has had some bandaging on his hand, joins in with a nonchalant off-drive. He likes the feeling so much that he does it again, playing later so the ball goes behind square. Much better from England.
In between boundaries, Atherton is still reading out the village news. “David Foster was in good nick for Mayford, 21 off eight, including a six that smashes his own car windscreen.” This may become a habit.
83rd over: England 215-3 (Crawley 62, Stokes 23) Kemar Roach is back, beating Stokes outside off and also rapping him on the glove, giving him a sore finger to go with yesterday’s sore toe. It won’t stop him batting, or walking towards the pitch of the ball. The man’s a warrior. But is he a good judge of a declaration?
82nd over: England 215-3 (Crawley 62, Stokes 23) It’s Shannon Gabriel, who took four wickets in the first innings and got rid of Dom Sibley in the second. He’s on the short side, allowing Crawley to cut for three and Stokes to pull for a single.
Now Holder does take the new ball. In the warm evening sunshine, it looks even shinier than usual. Can West Indies use it to take back control?
81st over: England 211-3 (Crawley 59, Stokes 22) Nine captains out of ten would now be saying “thanks, mate” to Chase and taking the new ball. The tenth is Jason Holder. Crawley celebrates with an elegant back-foot cover drive which deserves more than two. Meanwhile Mike Atherton is reading out some club-cricket scores, to mark the return of the amateurs. “Addington Village are doing well. Robin Dooley scored a double hundred. Fourteen sixes!”
80th over: England 207-3 (Crawley 56, Stokes 21) It’s Brathwaite to bowl what may well be the last over with the old ball. He’s deliciously slow – so slow that if he doesn’t like the look of a ball, he could probably catch up with it and get it back before it reaches the batsman. Still, only two off his over.
79th over: England 205-3 (Crawley 55, Stokes 20) Chase bowls five dot balls to Stokes, which is no mean feat these days. The other ball is clumped for two through the covers.
78th over: England 203-3 (Crawley 55, Stokes 18) It’s spin at both ends as Brathwaite returns. Crawley clips a full toss for a single to bring up the 200, and then there’s a bit of milking. England’s lead is now 88, but they may need to lose some wickets to make an exciting denouenment.
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