The Hong Kong Telegraph - Mayers' golden arm edges West Indies closer to victory over England

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Mayers' golden arm edges West Indies closer to victory over England
Mayers' golden arm edges West Indies closer to victory over England

Mayers' golden arm edges West Indies closer to victory over England

Kyle Mayers was again the man with the magic arm for the West Indies, taking three wickets as England, trailing on first innings by 93 runs, crashed to 43 for four in their second innings at tea on the third day of the third and final Test on Saturday.

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Joshua da Silva's maiden Test century had extended the home side's first innings through the entire morning session before they were eventually dismissed for 297.

Then Mayers accounted for captain Joe Root, Dan Lawrence and all-rounder Ben Stokes in quick succession after Jayden Seales had despatched Zak Crawley to leave the visitors in danger of complete capitulation and another series defeat in the Caribbean.

Opening batsman Alex Lees and Jonny Bairstow will attempt to resurrect their team going into the final session against a rejuvenated home side whose only setback has been the loss of wicketkeeper da Silva with a finger injury midway through the afternoon session.

Da Silva's replacement behind the stumps, Shamarh Brooks, was immediately into action in taking the catch which removed the dangerous Stokes as the all-rounder paid the price for a careless attempt at pulling out of a shot.

Before that Root wafted at a wide delivery to be taken high at first slip by John Campbell while Lawrence was left bewildered when his decision not to play a shot saw the ball deviating into the right-hander and grazing the off-stump.

Seales, who played his part with the bat by contributing 13 in a 52-run last-wicket stand with da Silva, made the early breakthrough when Crawley drove at a full-length delivery and Jason Holder seemed to surprise himself by holding on the fizzing chance at second slip.

England's mood was already low-energy at the start of the day.

Resuming at 232 for eight, any thoughts of a swift finale to the West Indies first innings when Kemar Roach fell to Saqib Mahmood were extinguished by the resistance of Seales.

Guided through the partnership by his fellow Trinidadian, Seales coped creditably with the deliveries he was required to face to the extent of stroking a four and six in getting to 13 off 59 deliveries before offering the exasperated Root a catch off his own bowling to finally end the innings 15 minutes beyond the scheduled end of the lunch interval.

- Da Silva unbeaten century -

Seales' demise came as the culmination of a period of celebration, chaos and confusion as the determined da Silva inched towards three figures, notwithstanding the negative leg-side tactics of the England bowlers.

His improvisation in response proved so effective that he then accelerated from 80 to the coveted century mark by swatting a succession of boundaries off left-arm spinner Jack Leach and fast-medium bowler Craig Overton.

His tenth boundary, played like a two-fisted forehand through mid-on, triggered celebrations by da Silva and Seales as the 23-year-old savoured his first hundred in Test cricket.

He was then given out caught behind off Overton and even though he reviewed the decision, da Silva was almost in the players’ dressing room when the television replays confirmed he was not out and he rather sheepishly returned to the middle, followed by the increasingly disgruntled England players.

They did not have to wait much longer for the end of the innings though with Seales falling in the next over bowled by Root, leaving da Silva unbeaten in an effort spanning almost six hours in which he faced 257 deliveries.