Buttler, Stokes quench early WI fire
GROS ISLET, St Lucia (CMC):
West Indies lost the plot in the final session, allowing Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes to cash in with unbeaten half-centuries as England made a strong finish to day one of the final Test here yesterday.
The hosts, having already secured the coveted Wisden Trophy with crushing wins in the first two Tests, looked set to dominate once again when they reduced the visitors to 114 for four at tea after a flurry of wickets in the second session.
But the bowling went awry after the last interval, and England cruised to the finish on 231 for four with Buttler unbeaten on 67 and Stokes not out on 62.
The pair scored freely against a tiring and errant Windies pace attack and have so far posted 124 in an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership.
Both, however, were beneficiaries of Windies indiscipline, so rare previously in the series.
Buttler was dropped before he had scored off fast bowler Shannon Gabriel in the second session while Stokes was reprieved on 52 late in the day off an Alzarri Joseph no-ball after falling to a return catch.
Buttler rode his luck and has so far struck nine fours off 123 deliveries in just over three and a half hours, with Stokes counting six boundaries off 130 balls in just under two and a half hours at the crease.
Twenty-year-old seamer Keemo Paul, brought in to replace suspended captain Jason Holder, finished with two for 42.
Opener Rory Burns had earlier scored 29 and Joe Denly, 20, as England made a slow start after being sent in on a two-paced wicket at the Darren Sammy National Stadium.
A 25-minute rain break after just five overs sent the players from the field with England on five without loss, and West Indies made the breakthrough in the ninth over – about 20 minutes after the resumption – when Paul got left-hander Keaton Jennings to edge a drive to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich for eight, off the first ball of his opening spell.
ENGLAND 1st Innings
J. Burns lbw b Paul 29
K. Jennings c Bravo b Paul 8
J. Denly lbw b Gabriel 20
*J. Root c wk Dowrich b Joseph 15
J. Buttler not out 67
B. Stokes not out 62
Extras (b4, lb6, w15, nb5) 30
Total (4 wkts, 83 overs) 231
To bat: +J Bairstow, Moeen Ali, M Wood, S Broad, J Anderson.
Fall of wickets: 1-30, 2-69, 3-69-3, 4-107.
Bowling: Roach 19-9-34-0, Gabriel 19-5-44-1, Joseph 15-2-56-1, Paul 16-7-42-2, Chase 10-0-40-0, Brathwaite 4-0-5-0.
Toss: West Indies.
Umpires: Rod Tucker, Kumar Dharmasena; TV – Chris Gaffaney.