Ollie Pope’s excellent 91 helped England recover on day one of the crucial third test against the West Indies at Old Trafford.
England was in trouble on 4/122, and the second-century test makers, Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes, and captain Joe Root were all cheap.
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But Pope, who ended the day in sight of his second hundred in ten career tests, and the pressurized Jos Buttler (56) shared an unbroken standpoint of 136.
England passed to 4/258 when bad light forced an early closure after West Indian captain Jason Holder won the throw under a gray sky.
England dropped third batsman Zak Crawley and left-handed Paceman Sam Curran after his 113-run win in the second test, also on Manchester ground, who ended the series with three games 1-1 and veteran spearhead James Anderson.
Root, who was promoted to third place in Crawley’s absence, was early after Opener Sibley, who frustrated the West Indies with almost eight hours a hundred in the second test, fell on a five-ball duck when Lot LBW hit the fast bowler Kemar Roach fell.
Root then gave his wicket when the English captain, after Rory Burns Cut called off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall called for a tight single, but assumed Roston Chase’s direct hit from behind for 17.
This caused Stokes to play after a quad injury, which raised doubts about his bowling fitness.
Since Stokes’ innings of 176 and 78 were not critical to England’s win in the second test, it was no surprise that he was effectively used as a specialized batsman.
Stokes, today the world’s best test all-rounder and only in the field after the Australian Steve Smith and the Indian captain Virat Kohli, was excellently positioned by Roach.
The Paceman tested him with a few short balls and, having previously moved a couple of deliveries away from the left-handed batsman, cleaned Stokes with one who retired to leave England 92-3.
Burns made a composed fifty before Cornwall – the world’s tallest cricketer at 198 cm and 140 kg – had an excellent one-hand slip catch after a sharp-edged cut-off chase.
The sight of the big boppers pulling a speccy in the barrier was the content that cricket fans were here for.
The 22-year-old Pope continued to strike ripe, although he had a happy break on the 30th, when a failed Shannon Gabriel withdrawal escaped a dive hunt and ran back from the middle.
However, the Pope showed a lot of class on the way to a 77 ball fifty. Wicketkeeper Buttler, who won the World Cup and whose test future was under a cloud after fifteen innings without fifty, increased the pace by lifting Cornwall up for two sixes in four balls.
The Pope went into the 90s by elegantly dropping a Roach delivery with the new ball for four, the style of the former English batsman Ian Bell.
– – AFP