England stumbles to 131-4 in decider against West Indies on Day 1 at Manchester
England’s truncated batting department fell cheaply as disciplined bowling by the West Indies reduced the hosts to 131-4 by tea on the first day of the deciding test at Old Trafford on Friday. Ollie Pope (24) and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler (2) were aiming to rebuild the innings in Manchester, with only a long tail left for England after the dismissals of Ben Stokes and Rory Burns in the second session.
Stokes — promoted to No. 4 so England could squeeze in another fast bowler — was bowled by a beauty through the gate by Kemar Roach for 20, having added 13 runs to his score at lunch.
Burns reached his sixth test half-century but departed soon after for 57, wafting at a ball from spinner Roston Chase that was too close to him and finding an edge that was taken one-handed — and brilliantly — by Rahkeem Cornwall at slip.
England is crawling along, scoring 65 runs at a rate of 2.5 per over between lunch and tea.
Before lunch, the West Indies snared Dom Sibley in the first over and captain Joe Root — to a run-out — near the end of the session after putting England into bat under gray skies.
England’s batting lineup has been weakened after choosing to select four fast bowlers as well as a spinner for the test. Stokes, the star of the second test won by England in Manchester, is struggling for full fitness and unlikely to bowl, so is being used as a specialist batsman.
West Indies paceman Shannon Gabriel started for the third straight match this series and spent some time off the field with an apparent hamstring strain after pulling up during his fourth over. He returned, though, to the relief of captain Jason Holder and is back bowling.
Roach has 2-28 off 12.4 overs, and needs one more wicket for 200 in tests.
The series is tied at 1-1 and the Windies, who won the first test in Southampton, are looking to capture a test series in England for the first time since 1988.