North Sound - England have made an early strike in pursuit of their first-ever Test
victory in Antigua after setting the West Indies an improbable 438 for
victory on the fourth day of the first Test against the West Indies on
At tea at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the home side
were nine for one after opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite fended off a
lifting delivery in Stuart Broad's first over to Joe Root, leaving his
opening partner, Devon Smith, and new batsman Darren Bravo to carry the
fight into the last session of the day.
England's rush for runs in
the afternoon session resulted in a declaration at 333 for seven, Gary
Ballance getting to 122, his fourth Test century.
Playing in just
his ninth Test match, the Zimbabwe-born left-hander got good support
from Root and Ben Stokes in continuing to dominate a deflated Caribbean
bowling attack in the morning, 108 runs coming in the two hours' play
for just the loss of Root's wicket.
Ballance and Root extended
their overnight fourth-wicket partnership to 114 when the right-hander
played on to fast-medium bowler Jason Holder for the second time in the
His knock of 59 followed a vital contribution of 81 in the first innings.
In conditions tailormade for batting, he was obviously bitterly disappointed at not being able to carry on to three figures.
Jos Buttler dominated the run-chase in the second session however.
to the crease after Ben Stokes was stumped off the bowling of Sulieman
Benn almost immediately after lunch, he smashed his way to an unbeaten
59 and made the task considerably easier for his captain, Alastair Cook,
in arriving at a declaration that would give his bowlers a few overs at
the West Indies top order before the break.
Reputed as a fluent stroke-maker, Ballance's innings was a determined, watchful effort.
faced 250 deliveries in just over five hours at the crease, stroking 11
fours and two sixes before the quest for quick runs brought about his
demise to the persevering Benn.
None of the home side's bowlers
appeared threatening, and with only four specialists chosen in the final
11 -- a tactic designed more to save the match than to win it -- a
tiring attack wilted under the withering attack of the England batsmen.