The Hong Kong Telegraph - Woakes' triple burst gives England edge in Test decider

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Woakes' triple burst gives England edge in Test decider
Woakes' triple burst gives England edge in Test decider

Woakes' triple burst gives England edge in Test decider

A three-wicket burst by Chris Woakes gave England the edge over the West Indies at tea on the second day of the third and final Test at the Grenada National Stadium on Friday.

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Replying to the tourists' first innings total of 204, the home side go into the final session of the day at 134 for seven with wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua da Silva and fast bowler Alzarri Joseph attempting to avert a complete collapse of the lower order.

In conditions a world away from the comatose pitches which resulted in tedious draws in the first two matches in Antigua and Barbados, Woakes extracted disconcerting bounce in the post-lunch period to account for Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder in the space of four balls before removing Jermaine Blackwood with a full-length delivery.

Ben Stokes then added his second wicket of the innings when Kyle Mayers (28) chipped a catch to mid-on just before tea.

With just two wickets from the previous two matches, Woakes' suitability for Test cricket away from home continues to be a talking point, and he responded in the best way possible to keep his team in the hunt for a first innings lead in what is developing into a tight, low-scoring contest.

Bonner could not evade a ball on the body and gloved a catch to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes while Holder's attempt at a controlled hook only spooned a catch to Jonny Bairstow coming off the square-leg boundary.

Blackwood was then dropped by Foakes off Saqib Mahmood but did not benefit from the reprieve, being caught on the crease and ruled leg-before to Woakes in the next over.

Mayers offered the only bright moments for the West Indies in the session, the attacking left-hander striking four fours and six before departing in anti-climactic fashion.

Starting their reply to England's modest first innings total in the morning, West Indies got a bright opening partnership of exactly 50 but the complexion of the day changed dramatically with the dismissal of skipper Kraigg Brathwaite by Stokes in the second hour.

- Campbell's torrid time -

That was followed by the demise of new batsman Shamarh Brooks to Mahmood.

When the other opener John Campbell, who had survived a torrid examination from Craig Overton, fell to the same bowler just before the interval, England were in much better heart.

Brathwaite, a virtual immovable object in the previous match in Barbados where he faced more deliveries than ever before by a West Indies batsman in Test cricket, looked in similar mood as Campbell did most of the scoring at the other end in bringing up the half-century stand.

But it took a delivery from Stokes which barely got off the ground to remove him as he was trapped plumb leg-before for 17 off 56 deliveries.

Brooks appeared comfortable in his early moments at the crease, stroking two boundaries before he also became an lbw victim, Mahmood getting a delivery to skid through on the right-hander to send him on his way for 13.

Campbell found Overton to be his greatest challenge, eventually succumbing to the burly pacer.

Twice the left-hander was struck on the helmet and though he resumed his innings both times, he never looked settled against the continued hostility of his opponent, eventually gloving another lifting delivery on the body down the leg-side for Foakes to take the catch.