September 20, 2020

England v West Indies: Ben Stokes & Stuart Broad help hosts win second Test

‘West Indies in tatters’ – Broad bowls Hope
Second Test, Emirates Old Trafford (day four of five)
England 469-9 dec (Stokes 176, Sibley 120) & 129-3 dec (Stokes 78*)
West Indies 287 (Brathwaite 75) & 198 (Brooks 62, Broad 3-42)
England won by 113 runs

Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad again provided the inspiration for England to complete a series-levelling 113-run victory over West Indies in the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford.

Stokes cracked 78 not out from 57 balls to allow England to declare on 129-3, setting West Indies 312 to win or 85 overs to survive.

Broad took 3-1 on the fourth evening and tore through the top order with three more wickets on Monday to leave West Indies 37-4.

Their recovery came in the shape of a century partnership between Jermaine Blackwood and Shamarh Brooks, who both made fifties.

Stokes produced the breakthrough, having the tangled Blackwood top-edge a pull to a diving Jos Buttler in a sustained spell of short bowling.

Further resistance came from West Indies captain Jason Holder but, when he was bowled by Dom Bess, England could scent victory.

The win was completed with nearly 15 overs to spare, Bess having Kemar Roach caught at short leg to leave West Indies 198 all out and a series level at 1-1.

The only concern for England was the sight of Stokes pulling up mid-over, appearing to hold his groin, late in the day, providing a fitness concern for the third and final Test beginning on Friday at the same ground.

Serious commitment – Stokes sprints to save boundary off own bowling

England win sets up intriguing finale

Despite the surreal behind-closed-doors environment, this series has served up two superb finishes – West Indies’ run-chase in Southampton and England’s race against time in Manchester.

In order to level the series, England produced an excellent performance, overcoming the disruption caused by Jofra Archer’s breach of the bio-secure protocols, being asked to bat in difficult conditions on day one and the obstacle of the entire third day being lost to rain.

In doing so, they have set up an intriguing finale when they will look win back the Wisden Trophy, defend a six-year unbeaten home record and prevent a first West Indies series win here since 1988.

They face decisions, especially around the make-up of a pace attack that has been rotated. Do they retain any of Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran, or recall Archer and either of rested pair James Anderson and Mark Wood? Will off-spinner Bess make way for Jack Leach?

Can West Indies, an hour away from earning the draw that would have guaranteed a share of the series, stir themselves to ensure they do not end their tour empty handed?

The suspicion is that England have the momentum, but any injury that limits the impact of Stokes would provide another twist.

More to follow.