Zak Crawley stepped up with the highest score of his short Test career as England established a hard-fought lead however a late rise from the West Indies bowlers left the tourists sensing a day 5 triumph at the Ageas Bowl.
After losing just 3 wickets in the first 2 sessions England blinked late in the day, seeing their next 5 go down for just 30 runs as they closed 170 ahead on 284 for 8.
We lead by 170 runs at the end of Day 4.
All to play for on the final day.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 11, 2020
The hosts had threatened to take real control for the first time in the match when Crawley joined captain Ben Stokes in a stand of 98 for the 4th wicket, however, when Stokes succumbed to 46 and Crawley followed for 76 moments later the tone dramatically shifted.
— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) July 11, 2020
Alzarri Joseph and Shannon Gabriel shared 4 wickets in the final hour, with Jason Holder responsible for Stokes’ scalp for the second time this week.
None of what followed must take away from Crawley’s efforts, the 22-year-old showing maturity beyond both his years and his 5 international caps to produce the highest score of the match amid high tension.
It might show to be the minute he leapfrogged Kent teammate Joe Denly in the selectors’ eyes however there is plenty to do in this match before focusing shifts to Joe Root’s return at Emirates Old Trafford next week.
Openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley laid a firm foundation, soaking up 10 difficult overs on the 3rd evening and after that continuing their good work in the morning session.
Resuming on 15 without loss they settled early to their job, rapidly getting on top of the West Indies attack who labored without joy for an hour. There was a small tip of wear and tear in the pitch. Holder persuading one to keep low to Burns and seeing another draw blood when it jumped into Sibley’s elbow.
Things tightened up substantially after the beverages break and, after simply 11 runs in 13 overs, Burns’ perseverance snapped as he slashed a short ball from Roston Chase directly into John Campbell’s hands at backward point. He hung his head prior to leaving, his hard-won score of 42 thrown away.
Sibley pushed on with Denly at his side, ultimately reaching 50 from 161 deliveries. He prodded at his 162nd and saw an inside edge splay his stumps, just for 3rd umpire Michael Gough to hush Gabriel’s celebrations by calling a very tight no-ball
The Trinidadian was visibly aghast however he went back to his mark and ended up the job 2 balls later, Sibley caught down the leg side in a significantly familiar fashion.
Denly was out next, for his Test average of 29, when he tamely lobbed Chase to the waiting Holder at short midwicket. By that point Crawley was currently looking for a more proficient source of runs, scoring more quickly than his county teammate.
He accelerated his scoring either side of tea and reached his half-century in 80 balls with his 4th boundary off Chase, a neat reverse sweep.
With Stokes looking positive and driving crisply at the other end the lead had actually swelled to 97 when the second new ball showed up. Gabriel was loose with it at first, yielding 13 in an over as Crawley moved past his previous top score of 66, and Stirs took back-to-back fours.
The 4th-wicket set soon had the very best stand of the match topping 81 in between Chase and Shane Dowrich and was 2 brief of the century when Stokes fell.
For the second time in a row, he was beaten by his opposite number, stepping throughout his stumps to Holder and edging to the first of 2 gully fielders. His timing had been great however his footwork may be too busy for its own great.
There was time yet for Crawley to specify the day however he joined his captain in the very next over, intending Joseph towards the on-side however feeding a leading edge straight back to the seamer.
The picture had altered quickly, with England’s 139-run lead all of a sudden looking far thinner than it had simply minutes before.
Jos Buttler was entirely not able to improve things, reversing an lbw on 5 just to be cleaned up by Joseph for 9. The final word went to Gabriel, who went hard at the stumps in his last burst, castling Dom Bess and Ollie Pope to finish with 3 for 62 and put his team in the ascendance.
England vs West Indies 1st Test Day 4 Match Highlights