MANCHESTER-Jos Buttler and Ollie Pope ushered an impressive recovery for England in the decider after it looked as the hosts would suffer an embarrassing batting collapse.

West Indies and England both made notable changes amongst the team ahead of an exciting finale. While the tourists kept making frequent dents, the home side hit back with significantly well. England omitted the likes of Zak Crawley and Sam Curran while bringing in James Anderson and Jofra Archer. Four frontline pace bowlers came along keeping in mind Ben Stokes might not bowl as much. On the other hand, Jason Holder opted to bowl first and Rahkheem Cornwall to partner Roston Chase in the spin-department, leaving out Alzarri Joseph.

Kemar Roach, who faced drought of wickets till the half of England’s first innings in the second Test, accounted for Sibley in his first over for a duck. One of England’s key man in their victory missed a straight one that was stone dead on his pads. The captain arrived at number three steered the innings cautiously alongside Rory Burns. However, a brilliant throw from Chase from the third man area while chasing a single, resulted in Root’s dismissal for 17.

The dangerman Ben Stokes’ brief but enterprising stay finished as Kemar Roach delivered a corker of a ball to get rid of him. Roach’s last few deliveries were short and were mostly moving away from the stumps but one those came swinging in. Unfortunately, Stokes left a massive gap while defending forward as the ball easily clattered the stumps.

Sixteen overs later, Burns brought a hard-earned fifty by tucking one off his hip through backward square leg. Seven overs later, Chase’s off-spin once again proved as the golden arm. On 57, Burns attempted to cut a full-delivery as Cornwall plucked a one-handed stunner at slip. One of the two Surrey men exited as the visitors looked in on tightening the screws, knowing Pope and Buttler had not hit the stride yet. Perhaps, it was not surprising to think that England were on the cusp of suffering another collapse. But the opposite happened. If it was Stokes and Sibley who lead the hosts’ recovery, it was England’s two most scrutinising men doing that.

After tea, from the third over, Buttler and Pope began finding boundaries fairly frequently. When not finding the fences, the pair was immaculately putting the ball through the gaps and running the twos and threes briskly. theIn the 14th over after tea break, Buttler clobbered two clean sixes off Cornwall, joining the party. The duo looked as comfortable as they never did before in the series.

There were periodic reviews from Jason Holder out of impulse none of which went their way. Ten overs before the availability of the new ball, the West Indian bowlers, began stemming the flow of runs. However, the pair was well set by then and Pope reached his fifty too. The bowlers were not consistent with their lengths while the fielders were not making matters easy either.

In the 77th over, Pope and Buttler brought their hundred-run stand while five overs later the latter reached his first fifty since September 2019 in Tests. Holder took the new ball, but their strike bowlers did not look threatening enough with it thus far. With 258-4 and an unbeaten stand of 136, England undoubtedly put themselves on the driver’s seat.

Scorecard

 

EENGLAND 1ST INNINGS:

RJ Burns c Cornwall b Chase     57

DP Sibley lbw b Roach.... 0

JE Root run out............. 17

BA Stokes b Roach....... 20

OJ Pope not out............ 91

JC Buttler not out........... 56

EXTRAS: (b 12, lb 3, nb 2) 17

TOTAL: (4 wkts, 85.4 overs)...... 258

FOW: 1-1, 2-47, 3-92, 4-122

BOWLING: KAJ Roach 18.4-2-56-2, ST Gabriel 18-4-47-0, JO Holder 20-5-45-0, RRS Cornwall 21-4-71-0, RL Chase 8-2-24-1.

WEST INDIES: John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich, Jason Holder (c), Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel.