West Indies bowlers Shanon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph got their team back into the contest in the final session on Day 4 of the first Test against England at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Southampton. The day’s play ended with England scoring 284/8 and gaining a lead of 170 runs.
The hosts, however, looked destined for a much bigger score when they were batting at 168/3 at tea on the fourth. But a collective effort from Gabriel and Alzarri, with assistance from their skipper Jason Holder, saw the Windies taking five wickets in the last session.
At 151/3, England captain Ben Stokes and Zack Crawley looked to steady the ship and guide their team to a decent total. They seemed dedicated to their cause and kept the hosts on top for much of the first half of the third session with a 98-run partnership for the.
It was Holder, who had taken a six-wicket haul in the first innings, gave the visitors a much-needed breakthrough. He got the better of his English counterpart for the second time in the match as Stokes (49 off 76 deliveries) edged the good-length straighter to gully.
In the very next over, the 22-year-old Crawley, who was batting brilliantly at 76 and seemed on course for a deserving triple-figure mark, hit one straight to Joseph. Jos Buttler (9) then played on off Joseph after which Shannon Gabriel took Dom Bess (3) and Ollie Pope (5). England went from 249/3 to 279/8 in just over 10 overs.
Jofra Archer (5) and Mark Wood (1) are currently in the middle with only James Anderson left to come. The visitors will be looking to make quick work of the England tail so as to give a chaseable total for their batsmen in what could be a tantalising final day of the Test.
The Windies attack was led by a combined effort as the eight wickets were shared by four bowlers. Gabriel has been the most successful bowler for his 3//62, followed by Alzarri Joseph and Roston Chase with figures 2/40 and 2/71 respectively.
Holder did not get anyone other than Stokes, while leading speedster Kemar Roach has remained wicketless so far.
For Day 5, meanwhile, the bowlers will be hoping to get England bundled out before they cross the 200-mark lead to get their batsmen a fair amount of time to chase the target.
Brief scores: England 204 and 284/8 (Crawley 76, Sibley 50; Gabriel 3/62); West Indies 318 all-out (Brathwaite 65, Dowrich 61, Stokes 4/49)