London - England's Dawid Malan became the latest batsman to fall
cheaply in the third and deciding Test against the West Indies at Lord's
despite rain washing out most of Friday's morning session.
The hosts were 64 for five at lunch on the second day, still
59 runs behind West Indies' first innings 123, after Malan had fallen for 20 in
the 4.2 overs play possible in the session.
Ben Stokes, who had taken Test-best figures of six for 22 on
Thursday, was 24 not out and Jonny Bairstow unbeaten on nought.
Kemar Roach, who dismissed Malan, had figures of three for
26 in 10 overs.
Despite heavy overnight and early morning rain, play started
just 15 minutes late – a testament to the efficiency of the Lord's drainage
system and the floodlights cutting through the gloom.
The conditions, which previous generations of test players
would have been spared because of either a sodden outfield or bad light, were,
as had been the case on Thursday when 14 wickets fell, some of the most
difficult imaginable in which to bat.
With this three-test series all square at 1-1 and the match
intriguingly poised, England resumed on 46 for four with left-handed batsmen
Malan and Stokes both 13 not out.
Malan, batting on his Middlesex home ground, drove the sixth
ball of the day from Shannon Gabriel through mid-off for four.
Stokes, whose bowling haul on Thursday saw him become just
the sixth Englishman to take at least five wickets and score a century (101
against New Zealand two years ago) in a test at Lord's, followed up by cutting
Roach for a boundary before he too drove Gabriel past mid-off.
But conditions continued to offer the possibility of late
movement and when Roach, adjusting his angle from around the wicket, nipped one
away, Malan was forced to play and nicked a simple catch to wicketkeeper Shane
Malan, still to cement his England place ahead of the
upcoming Ashes tour of Australia, swished his bat in frustration after the end
of a 31-ball innings including three fours.
Malan's mood would not have been helped, however, when,
shortly after his dismissal, the rain returned and the umpires took the players
off the field to end a session that lasted a mere 22 minutes.