The West Indies held the advantage at the end of the second day of the first Test against England at Kensington Oval today. They finished on 127 for six wickets, a lead of 339 runs with Shane Dowrich unbeaten on 27 and captain Jason Holder not out on 7.
Batting for the second time in the day after England were blown away for 77 in their first innings, West Indies then lost wickets regularly and were 61 for five by the 22nd over with Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase and Shai Hope dismissed and watching the game from the Garfield Sobers Pavilion. This, after a second 50-run opening partnership between Brathwaite and Campbell. The West Indies declined to enforce the follow-on perhaps unwilling to bat last on a fourth or fifth-day track at the Oval.
Shimron Hetmeyer (31) and Shane Dowrich stabilised the innings with an important partnership of 59 runs for the sixth wicket. Hetmyer was his usual aggressive self forcing England to release their attacking fields. However, minutes before the close Hetmyer mistimed a drive off Sam Curran and was caught by Jos Buttler. Once again the left-handed Guyanese looked a class act.
Earlier, it was the Kemar Roach show as he wreaked havoc among England’s batsmen with a devastating spell of fast bowling in the pre-tea session to bundle out the visitors in 30.2 overs and give the West Indies a lead of 212.
Roach’s destruction of the visitors began in the first over after lunch when he bowled opener Rory Burns for 2 to leave England wobbling at 35 for two. Holder had already accounted for his opening partner Keaton Jennings, caught at gully by Hope for 17.
Roach’s next victim was Jonny Bairstow who had his stumps rattled for 17 with a ball that also struck his elbow. The veteran fast bowler then trapped Ben Stokes lbw for a duck to leave the visitors in a sad state at 48 for five. The pressure continued to mount on England when the very next ball Moeen Ali pulled a short ball from Roach and was brilliantly caught at long-leg by Alzarri Joseph for a duck, leaving Roach on a hat-trick which he did not complete with his next delivery.
However, Buttler would very soon succumb to Roach’s inspired spell when he induced him to edge to wicketkeeper Dowrich after he had scored four.
The turn of events in the England innings sent shockwaves among the thousands of English visitors packed into the stands as their team floundered at 48 for six. At that stage, Roach had eight overs, five maidens, 13 runs and had claimed five wickets. Roach’s final figures were 11 overs, 7 maidens, 17 runs, five wickets. A brilliant performance before his home fans!
Roach was supported by Holder and Joseph who took two wickets each for 15 and 20 runs respectively. Shannon Gabriel accounted for Curran with a snorter which he fended to Hope.
At the start of the day, West Indies resumed on 264 for the loss of eight wickets and were bowled out just before the first hour of play for 289. Hetmeyer who was on 56 not out, was the last wicket to fall as he tried to force the pace with the last man Gabriel at the other end. He was caught at the wicket by Ben Foakes off Stokes for 81 scored in 109 minutes and including nine fours and two sixes. Joseph, the other overnight batsman, batted for fifty minutes and gave Hetmyer good support before he was caught at second slip by Buttler without scoring. Gabriel was not out on nought when the innings closed.
James Anderson finished with the remarkable figures of five wickets for 46 runs from 30 overs which included 13 maidens. Stokes chipped in with four wickets for 59 runs from 25.3 overs.