England’s top order crumbles under Windies attack

Afp, Southampton

10 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

West Indies fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder had England reeling at 106 for 5 on the second day of the first Test at Southampton on Thursday.

At lunch, stand-in captain Ben Stokes, who won the toss and chose to bat, was 21 not out and Jos Buttler, the last of their recognised batsmen, unbeaten on nine.

They would have been in an even worse position had Stokes not been dropped by a diving Kemar Roach at long leg when he was on 14 following a miscued hook off Alzarri Joseph.

England resumed on 35-1 after a rain-marred first day more memorable for the sight of players taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign and the West Indies' rekindling the powerful imagery of clenched fists in black gloves.

Rory Burns was 20 not out and Joe Denly 14 not out, with the continued overcast conditions under the floodlights at Hampshire's headquarters again making life difficult for the batsmen. England were soon 51-3 as Gabriel removed Denly and Burns in a spell of two wickets for two runs in nine balls. With regular England skipper and top-order mainstay Joe Root expected to return for the second Test after missing this match to attend the birth of his second child, Denly was under pressure to make a big score to keep him in the side.