England v West Indies 2nd Test day 3: like the scales of justice this game is in the balance

Andy Ward

Lunch

The West Indies extended their lead to 169 in an exciting session of Test cricket. Fans had barely settled into their seats before Jimmy Anderson nipped out Shai Hope with the first ball of the morning and Shane Dowrich with the second. Somehow Jason Holder and Jermaine Blackwood survived a frenetic 15 minute spell, although only Moeen Ali knows how he shelled Blackwood at mid on from a simple chance.

In time they did settle though and Holder in particular played some assured shots, taking Stuart Broad for 14 off an over and bringing the total past 400. Moeen Ali then redeemed himself to a degree with a good running catch back from mid off to dismiss Holder for 41, and Blackwood also missed out on fifty, being run out for 49 going for a third to gain the strike to a bullet throw from Ben Stokes.

The last wicket pair of Roach and Gabriel added 21 for the last wicket before Gabriel was pinned LBW by Stokes, closing the innings at 427 with a lead of 169. Those two will be eager to take the new ball against England's shaky top order after lunch, while Stoneman, Westley and Malan all have to balance the match situation with their own desire to make that plane to Australia. Tune in for what promises to be an interesting second session.

Tea: England on 68-1, 101 behind

The Third Test continues to confound as England made a solid start to their second innings, trailing by 169 after the first dig. Mark Stoneman raced to 18 off as many balls, stroking three fours in an over off Kemar Roach, before Jason Holder played his containing role to good effect.

He managed to exert some pressure on Alistair Cook, who flashed at one too many outside off stump and was caught behind by Shane Dowrich. Stoneman and Tom Westley made their way to the tea interval with England on 68-1, 101 behind, with another pivotal session to come this evening.

Close of play: England 171-3 in 2nd innings Lead by 2 with 7 wickets remaining

[by The Bear]

Well it ended up a finely balanced game at the end of day 3. After tea it was important England remained patient but still jept the score moving. That didn't last long as Westly aimed wildly at a wide one getting a edge through to the keeper Dowritch.

Root to the rescue? That's what we were all hoping after an injudicious shot ended his innings early in the first dig. He took an age to get get going, that was unusual for our skipper but it looked to have been the correct choice until, on 10 a pretty straight forward chance to gully was dropped from in front of his face by Kyle Hope. From there England went along pretty serenely until Stoneman having reached his maiden test 50 in 107 balls was soon bowled by an absolute peach from Gabriel pitching on off, straightening and taking his off stump.

Root was then joined by Malan, another man with a point to prove. Whilst not being totally convincing he survived through to the end with Root who was given out in his 30's from a ball that looked to be going down from Jason Holder. He immediately reviewed, which we all assumed was because he knew he'd hit it only to find he is absolutely sure where his leg stump is not just his off. It was missing. From there England got hrough to the end chanceless.

The Windies bowled with good heart, Gabriel's no balls aside he and Roach were aggresive backed up by Holder who while down on pace was getting good swing and nip. I felt it was odd that Bishoo didn't bowl much being a specialist with Roston Chase being the all rounder. Chase having good conditions into the bowlers foot holes from around the wicket idn't bowl the right line, often bowling too wide allowing the batsmen to leave with ease.

Still the match is finally balanced and tomorrow should be a cracker. So join us for all the action live from 10.55 am BST tomorrrow morning.

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