Tuesday, 17 May, 2022
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Bonner, Holder keep Windies in touch with England

An unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 75 between Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder helped West Indies reach the close at 202 for four in reply to England's first innings total of 311 on the second day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Wednesday.

Stumbling at 127 for four at tea following a bright opening stand of 83, the tourists' effort in pressing home the advantage was thwarted in the final session as the pair of contrasting right-handers defied all the challenges presented to them on a placid surface.

On a day of frequent brief interruptions for rain, it was another swift shower which ended the day's play with the phlegmatic Bonner on 34 off 103 balls with three fours and Holder showing a bit more purposeful intent on 43 off 104 balls, his innings embellished by six fours and a six, that lone heave over the boundary bringing up the 50-partnership.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite stroked 55 off 70 balls with seven fours and one six in an uncharacteristically aggressive effort to dominate the opening stand.

John Campbell, playing his first Test for almost a year, was content to play the supporting role.

But when he fell for 35 in mid-afternoon, gloving an attempted pull off Craig Overton for wicketkeeper Ben Foakes to complete the leg-side catch, England sensed the chance for more success with the raw pace of Mark Wood proving particularly unsettling.

Brathwaite chased a wide delivery from the fast bowler and Overton took a tumbling catch at backward point before a leaden-footed prod by Shamarh Brooks at Ben Stokes resulted in a simple catch to England captain Joe Root at first slip.

Jermaine Blackwood was lucky to escape before he had scored as Foakes could not hold on to a sharp chance when the vice-captain drove loosely at Wood.

However there was no reprieve a few minutes later when an appeal for a catch at gully off Chris Woakes was upheld on review as television replays revealed an inside-edge onto the thigh pad before the ball nestled in Overton's safe hands on the stroke of the tea interval.

"We will need to get early wickets on the third morning because Holder and Bonner played really well today in nullifying the reverse swing that we were starting to get," said Wood in putting the day's play into perspective.

"We were definitely operating to a plan of bowling straighter lines and trying as often as we could to bring the stumps into play, but every time we veered offline we were punished. It's about trying to be consistent and stick to our plans as best as we can."

Earlier, first day batting star Jonny Bairstow was last out for 140, contributing 31 of the 43 added by England from the overnight position of 268 for six.

Jayden Seales struck twice in three balls to finish with the best innings figures of four for 81 for the home side while fellow fast bowler Alzarri Joseph finally enjoyed some success with the last two wickets of the England first innings.

Bairstow's controlled effort eventually ended via a well-judged catch by Holder running back from slip to short third-man as the right-hander sliced an attempted heave to the on-side half an hour before lunch.

His six-and-a-half hour occupation of the crease was highlighted by 21 fours off 259 deliveries.