The West Indies were handed a stroke of luck as the Day 4 of the third and final Test against England was abandoned due to rain at Old Trafford. Chasing a humongous target of 399 runs, the visitors were reeling at 10/2 when the third day’s play was called off.
No team have ever made more than 294/4 in the fourth innings at Manchester to win a Test. England did that in 2008 against New Zealand. Going for a win or batting the entire day to ensure a draw would be a tumultuous task for the touring batsmen. However, a draw will be enough for them to retain the Wisden Trophy.
England, on the other hand, would be disappointed to not play as a victory for them seem a probable result given how they, especially their bowlers, have performed in the ongoing Test. A win will see them winning the three-match series 2-1 and regaining the Wisden Trophy from Jason Holder’s team.
On Sunday, England openers Burns and Sibley added 114 runs as they floored the Windies who looked out of sorts. Burns and Root then added 112 for the second wicket before they declared on 226/2.
The second session, like the first, belonged to England as Burns and Sibley looked to first graft and then put the bad balls away as the tourists lost steam.
Jason Holder used as many as five bowlers, but none, including Kemar Roach, worked as the hosts pulled away in style. There was turn on the wicket as Tea neared with Rahkeem Cornwall coming close with an LBW appeal and Roston Chase beating Burns a few times, but the openers stood their ground.
Post Tea, there was more misery in store for the Windies as Root upped the ante and played some delectable shots to take England to a position of strength. Sibley was finally trapped in front by Holder while Burns was caught behind off Chase.
Earlier, Stuart Broad had grabbed six wickets as England put themselves in the driver’s seat.
Resuming the day’s play at 137/6, Windies saw overnight batters Holder (46) and Dowrich (37) share a 68-run stand for the seventh wicket to revive their flailing fortunes.
But once Broad got into the act, there was no stopping the veteran pacer as he trapped Holder in front before dismissing Cornwall in a similar fashion. Roach helped Broad bag his five-for by edging a full-length delivery to England captain Root, who took a low catch at first slip.
Finally, Dowrich’s vigil came to an end as a back of a length Broad beauty saw him hole out to Chris Woakes at mid-on, as the visitors folded for 197.
Meanwhile, England speedster Broad will be eyeing to become the fourth pacer in the world and second from his country to take 500 Test wickets. Broad, who is just a scalp away from the achievement, will be joining the elite list of James Anderson, Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh.
With IANS inputs