England v West Indies: Joe Root and Dawid Malan edge hosts into slender lead

By Jack SkeltonBBC Sport
Second Investec Test, Headingley, day three
England 258 & 171-3: Stoneman 52, Root 45*, Malan 21*
West Indies 427: S Hope 147, Brathwaite 134, Blackwood 49, Holder 43, Anderson 5-76
England lead by two runs

England battled hard to stay in contention in the second Test against an impressive West Indies on an enthralling third day at Headingley.

Facing a deficit of 169, Mark Stoneman (52) hit his first Test half-century before being bowled by Shannon Gabriel.

Tom Westley failed again but Joe Root and Dawid Malan fought well to steer England to 171-3, leading by two.

James Anderson took two wickets with the first two balls of the day before the tourists recovered to post 427.

Jermaine Blackwood (49) and Jason Holder (43) combined brilliantly after Anderson's stunning start, Windies captain Holder also later removing Alastair Cook for only 23.

His counterpart Root was dropped at gully and successfully overturned an lbw decision during a tricky evening session.

But he survived to reach an unbeaten 45 at the close on his home ground, with Malan also showing excellent application to reach 21 not out, despite West Indies failing to review when he would have been given out caught behind.

Questions and answers for England's top order

There are still more questions than answers around the problem of England's fitful top five, but Stoneman advanced his claim to become Cook's long-awaited long-term opening partner with a gritty knock.

Following a fluent start, he was forced to grind runs off his pads, finally reaching 50 from 107 balls. The Surrey opener also had a dislocated finger reset by the physio after being hit on the glove by Holder.

He was bowled by a tremendous Gabriel delivery - make your own mind up whether it was a no ball or not - but Stoneman's opening stand of 58 with Cook was promising after paltry returns for the first wicket this summer.

England will be more worried about Westley. It was not just the manner of his dismissal - nicking a wide ball with a loose drive - but the nervous spell that preceded it, with Westley failing to see Stoneman was returning for two and only avoiding being run out by Bishoo's calamitous failure to gather the throw.

Malan should have joined Westley in the pavilion after only four runs - a feather edge to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich off Gabriel was not reviewed after a half-hearted appeal was turned down.

But the Middlesex batsman now has the chance to emulate Stoneman's success and accumulate runs in support of Root and the lower order as England look to build a winning position despite the struggles of the first two days.

Holder harnesses Headingley

England have not bowled as badly in this Test as West Indies did at Edgbaston, but Anderson aside, they have been shown up by Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Holder, who particularly excelled on day three.

The 25-year-old skipper's steady pace seems at odds with his 6ft 7ins frame, but he proved the value of accurate, full bowling on this pitch, having earlier also shown his quality with the bat with a series of exquisite drives.

The over he bowled to remove Cook was majestic, beating the bat three times before finally snaring the opener with one that nibbled off the seam.

He also removed the unsettled Westley and thought he had the key scalp of Root with a well-directed full delivery into the pads, only for the review to show the ball was sliding down the leg side.

That was only one of several near misses for the tourists, who would be firmly on top had they taken all their chances in this match - Root the latest to be given a reprieve, shelled on 10 by Kyle Hope.

Root could punish that drop on day four, but Holder and his seamers are capable of routinely causing England problems, while there is enough turn to keep spin duo Devendra Bishoo and Roston Chase interested.

England's super start turns sour

Very few days of Test cricket begin as breathtakingly as this one - Anderson was on a hat-trick before most spectators had found their seats.

The 35-year-old - England's best bowler in this Test by an alarming distance - produced a superb delivery first up, nipping away enough for Shai Hope to nick behind before he could add to his magnificent overnight 147.

Anderson then found extra bounce to lure Dowrich into edging to Root at second slip. Holder defended the hat-trick ball but an exhilarated England now had a realistic chance of restricting the deficit to under 100.

However, Moeen Ali spilled a simple chance to catch Blackwood off Stuart Broad with West Indies 333-7.

Blackwood, on 21 at the time, was finally run out for 49 after he and Holder had scored rapidly and creatively against some ragged bowling from Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes.

Moeen made partial amends by taking a tougher chance to remove Holder but, by the time Stokes finally trapped last man Gabriel lbw, the visitors had added 98 to their overnight score and reasserted their dominance with a lead of 169.

'I thought I was in a bad way' - reaction

England batsman Mark Stoneman "It was pleasing to get the first Test fifty. It's not been the easiest of surfaces so it was great to help get us back in the game.

"I thought I was in a bad way with the finger but the physio managed to get it back in.

"We had to graft and weather the storm at times and hopefully we can capitalise when they come back for third or fourth spells. All in all, it's been a good day's work for us. It's set up well for the next two days."

West Indies captain Jason Holder: "We're still in a good position and the first hour tomorrow morning is crucial.

"I'm happy with how well it's gone but we don't want our hard work so far to go unrewarded.

"Anything under 150 would be good to chase. If we can break this partnership early in the morning, and get Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow in early, that will be better for us."


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