West Indies v England: third Test, day three – as it happened – The Guardian
Joe Root speaks!
“It’s really pleasing. I’ve been working on a few things in practice, trying to line myself up a bit better. The body hasn’t quite been doing what I’ve wanted at times, which has been frustrating, but that can happen over your career and you have to evolve your game as bowlers develop their plans to you. I haven’t felt great but something really clicked today and I felt like I had a bit of rhythm. It wasn’t pretty at times – it’s that sort of wicket – but once I got in it started to feel a bit easier.”
“I believe that in the business world employees are obliged to reflect on their goals, aims and personal development envelopes,” says Ian Copestake, “and it is in this spirit that I ask you Rob if this session has met your projected expectations of fun and runs?”
Well, that’s it from me, goodnight!
That was a pretty comfortable day for England against a weakened West Indies attack. Root, though rarely fluent, scrapped hard for an impressive unbeaten 111. Joe Denly made a stylish 69 and Jos Buttler scored another half-century without going on to something grander.
The fit West Indies bowlers showed great heart, particularly Shannon Gabriel, while Kemar Roach dismissed Buttler with the ball of the day. There was another entertaining contest between Gabriel and Stokes – two fierce competitors who, no matter how hard they try, cannot hide their respect and affection for one another.
Close of play: England lead 448 runs
100th over: England 325-4 (Root 111, Stokes 28) Stokes plays out a maiden from Brathwaite to complete another very good day for England, who are going to make it nine wins in the last 12 Tests. Put that in your narrative!
99th over: England 325-4 (Root 111, Stokes 29) One over to go.
98th over: England 321-4 (Root 108, Stokes 28) “Hi Rob,” says Pete Salmon. “I do hope that somewhere in Slovakia there is an inter-departmental ice hockey fan sending the puck-by-puck correspondent baffling emails about a game called cricket, where a team that has already lost is winning.”
97th over: England 315-4 (Root 106, Stokes 24) Word to the wise: a new series of Masterchef has just started. There’s nothing to see here. Both teams are going through the motions until the close.
96th over: England 314-4 (Root 106, Stokes 23) Brathwaite brings himself on in an attempt to improve the over-rate. There’s one run from the over, and I’ve forgotten it already.
95th over: England 313-4 (Root 106, Stokes 22) Stokes pushes Chase down the ground for a single, one of three from the over. Blah blah etc.
“I noticed that over 89 started dot, 1, 2, 3, 4,” says Ally. “If the last ball had been a 5 with overthrows, it would have been quite interesting. Shame.”
We’ll always have the exquisite memory of that moment before the final delivery was bowled, when anything felt possible in life.
JOE ROOT MAKES HIS 16TH TEST CENTURY!
94th over: England 310-4 (Root 105, Stokes 20) That’ll do. Root slams a full toss from Joseph through mid-off for four to reach a determined hundred. It hasn’t been a showcase of his attacking brilliance like the last one in Sri Lanka, but in some ways it is even more impressive for that. He has had to fight really hard because he hasn’t been in great nick, not just today but throughout the series. Well played. He is, despite a difficult year, still England’s best Test batsman by a mile. And he has now converted his last three Test fifties into hundreds. Yeah, I know, I know, but before that he had converted something like three out of 20.
93rd over: England 302-4 (Root 98, Stokes 19) With seven overs remaining today, Roston Chase comes back to work some over-rate magic. Root waves a single down the ground to move to 98.
“Evening Rob,” says Brian Withington. “Back in Slovakia, it appears that US Steels are holding an inter departmental Winter Olympics which includes ski racing, cross country skiing ice hockey and toboggan. Brother Dave didn’t know if they had snowboarding, which prompted me to gently enquire about competitive (iced) water boarding as a special concession to the CIA? No reply on that front, but I’ve been informed that the classy Steelworks team had gone 2-1 up against the obdurate Blast Furnace after a ‘fruitless battering at the other end’, before eventually running out 4-2 winners. Much Parka and Pivo were consumed in the reporting, and tickets for the World Cup in May appear to have been procured from a well-placed contact in US Steels HR department (not represented on the ice tonight). Over and out from our man in Kosice.”
92nd over: England 301-4 (Root 97, Stokes 19) A short ball from Gabriel takes off and clears Dowrich for four more byes; then another one keeps comically low and hits Stokes high on the bat as he tries about eight different shots at the same time. Stokes rests on his haunches and smiles wryly while Gabriel offers some hard-faced technical advice. Both players smile playfully as they exchange more words at the end of the over. Their battle throughout this series has been so much fun.
91st over: England 295-4 (Root 97, Stokes 17) Root survives an LBW appeal from Joseph, who nipped a good delivery back from outside off stump. There were two noises and it looked a bit high as well. Replays confirm a big inside-edge. Root then thumps a glorious off-drive for four,before clipping two more through midwicket. He’s three away.
“Would you prefer a career of 25 Tests containing no centuries and an average of 60,” says Elliot Carr-Barnsley, “or four centuries and an average of 28?”
The first one; the mean-median-mode possibilities are statgasmic.
90th over: England 289-4 (Root 91, Stokes 17) Stokes crunches Gabriel straight down the ground for four, another excellent stroke which should prompt somebody to mention his maiden Test hundred at Perth any second now. Gabriel responds with a short ball that keeps much lower than expected and just bounces over the off stump, and then Stokes misses an almighty yahoo at a very wide delivery. And why not?
Here’s Ian Copestake “As Joe Root has found, like many a colonial before him, you can only convert what’s in front of you.”
89th over: England 284-4 (Root 90, Stokes 13) Alzarri Joseph replaces Roach, and Root takes a single which gives him the highest score by an England batsman in this series, beating Rory Burns’ 84 in the second innings of the first Test. A flamboyant extra-cover drive from Stokes brings three more, which takes England’s lead past 400, and then Root flicks four more off the pads to complete a productive over. It’s coming home.
“Rob,” says Kim Thonger. “How do we explain to our four-year-old granddaughter that she can’t start Friday night cricket practice for another two months even though the groundsmen have already started making the square look all stripey? She makes Rachael Heyhoe-Flint seem like a disinterested dilettante. The teenage Boycott showed less determination. She’s also clocked that mimicking Keaton Jennings is not her personal path to glory.”
Maybe tell her Roston Chase’s eight-for has discombobulated Mother Cricket to such an extent that she’s been signed off work for two months after this series.
88th over: England 273-4 (Root 84, Stokes 8) Joe Root is no longer batting like me. He clips Gabriel through midwicket for four, a delightfully timed stroke which moves him into the eighties. The last ball of the over rams into Stokes’s box, prompting another exchange between the players. Both of them were laughing, as was Joe Root, so I assume it was phallus-related banter. Nothing vicious.
87th over: England 268-4 (Root 79, Stokes 8) Root moves to within 21 runs of his 16th Test hundred. His conversion rate hasn’t been a problem of late, though he hasn’t had much to convert. This is only his third fifty-plus score in the last 20 innings; the other two, against India at the Oval and Sri Lanka in Pallekele, were turned into centuries.
86th over: England 265-4 (Root 76, Stokes 8) Stokes is surprised by a good short ball from Gabriel, but adjusts well to pat it back down the pitch. The next ball beats the attempted cut shot. An excellent maiden from Gabriel, whose series figures of eight wickets at 33 are a minor travesty.
85th over: England 265-4 (Root 76, Stokes 8) A wide ball from Roach is cut crisply for four by Stokes, who then punches a drive through mid-off for three. As Nasser Hussain says on Sky, that off-drive is a good barometer of Stokes’s batting form. He has played it superbly in this match. Root, meanwhile, is batting like me – he pushes forward hopefully and is again beaten by a beauty from Roach.
84th over: England 258-4 (Root 76, Stokes 1) Gabriel and Stokes continue their anti-bromance with a few words, though from afar it seems slightly playful. Root then misses an attempted pull from a ball that keeps low; he looks skittish and vulnerable against this second new ball, and the over ends with a thick inside edge that falls short of the man at deepish short leg. Meanwhile, here’s an odd stat for you: Jason Holder scored more runs in one innings than anyone else on either side has throughout the series.
83rd over: England 257-4 (Root 76, Stokes 0) Thanks Simon, hello again. Kemar Roach beats Joe Root with an absurd delivery, an 85mph lifting legbreak. Root then inside-edges a booming drive past his off stump and just manages to get his bat down on a grubber, though I think it would have missed off stump. The pitch looks very different when the ball is new – and especially when it’s in the hands of Roach. He has been majestic in this series and has 18 wickets at an average of 12.
82nd over: England 255-4 (Root 74, Stokes 0) Two balls into Gabriel’s over there’s a lengthy stoppage while Stokes changes his shoes, apparently at the behest of the umpires. From a distance there’s nothing obviously wrong with his original pair, and they certainly haven’t been over-used, but they’re obviously deeply offensive if you get close to them. They call for drinks to be brought out at the same time, further extending the stoppage. The over ends with a ball that stays low and leaves both Stokes and Dowrich squirming, and with that I’m going to tag out again – Rob Smyth will take you through the remainder of the day. Emails here, if you could. Bye!
81st over: England 254-4 (Root 73, Stokes 0) At no point during that over did Buttler look happy. First he fends a ball angled into his hip into the air and down the leg side, Dowrich can’t reach it and it bounces away for four. The umpire signals four runs, but the ball might have hit a thigh pad rather than the bat. Then he half-pulls it into the air, the ball perhaps holding up off the pitch and forcing Buttler into improvising something with his shot already well on the way to completion. And then, next ball, the fifth of the over, he’s gone.
WICKET! Buttler b Roach 56 (England 254-4)
And the new ball does the trick! That’s a snorter from Roach, angled into the batsman, straightening off the seam and taking out off stump!
80th over: England 248-3 (Root 73, Buttler 50) The crowd spend most of Brathwaite’s over applauding, first for the 100 partnership and then for Buttler’s 50. England’s lead is now 371, and all is rosy. It’s basically rose-town, St Lucia. And now, a fresh cherry!
79th over: England 246-3 (Root 72, Buttler 49) Root top-edges a slog towards cow corner, and when it lands it turns sharply to the left, befuddling the sub fielder waiting for it. “As a keen very beginning student of Arabic, I’m researching/thinking/guessing zarri is a blossoming flower and Al adds a ‘the’,” writes Andrew Benton. “Maybe Ton is town and Ros perhaps rose which would make them … The Blossoming Flower and Rose Town. Very horticultural.”
78th over: England 242-3 (Root 69, Buttler 48) There’s a whisper or a run-out chance here, as Buttler works the ball to backward point and Root sets off at a sprint. Which is just as well, as any hesitation would have done for him there.
77th over: England 241-3 (Root 69, Buttler 47) We are currently in a holding pattern while we wait for the new ball to become available. Meanwhile, in fraternal news:
76th over: England 237-3 (Root 67, Buttler 45) Hold your horses, Brian Withington has another update from the US Steel inter departmental ice hockey tournament in Slovakia! “My on the spot brother informs me that in the key game of the evening, the slick sticks of Steelworks have just equalised 1-1 after a sin binning against the robust Blast Furnace team (‘things are hotting up’ says the bard of Kosice),” he writes. This makes no more sense to me than the talk of non-Newtonian liquids a little earlier.
75th over: England 234-3 (Root 64, Buttler 45) There’s no problem with over rate at the moment, as Brathwaite and Chase scream along at a fair old lick. Root dabs the ball down towards third man, but Hetmyer gets to it just before the rope.
74th over: England 229-3 (Root 60, Buttler 44) There’s a review for a stumping here after Buttler fluffs a sweep, though it’s not one that anyone gets particularly excited about. And rightly so: his foot was grounded with some time to spare.
73rd over: England 227-3 (Root 59, Buttler 43) Shouts of “catch” echo around the ground as Buttler hoiks the first ball over gully and safely back to earth.
72nd over: England 222-3 (Root 58, Buttler 39) Brathwaite bowls, and Root clobbers a sweep behind square for four.
71st over: England 218-3 (Root 54, Buttler 39) None of the popular baby-name-meaning-explanation websites can tell me anything about either Roston or Alzarri. The closest I have found is news that “Rawsthorn is derived from Old Norman names that mean red, and torn. Accordingly, the name means dweller by the thorns,” from houseofnames.com. Chase’s over is, however, anything but thorny.
70th over: England 215-3 (Root 52, Buttler 38) Root has scored at least one 50 in every Test series he has ever played, a run that would obviously have ended had he faltered today. He gets a single from Joseph’s second delivery, leaving Buttler to watchfully see off the remainder.
69th over: England 214-3 (Root 51, Buttler 38) Chase continues, Root tickles one gently and deftly down the leg side and it rolls away for four – precisely what he needed to take himself to a half-century! He has not got 50 without continuing to a century since last August, 18 innings ago (there have been two centuries since). “It seems a perfectly appropriate celebration,” says, um, someone by email about the plastic donkey. “After all, we’ve had a wooden one opening the batting for us.”
68th over: England 208-3 (Root 46, Buttler 37) A maiden from Alzarri Joseph.
67th over: England 208-3 (Root 46, Buttler 37) Roston Chase gets the final session of the day off to a gentle start. It’s his 21st over, so he’s bowled not far off a third of his team’s total in the innings. Not a bad contribution, given that he first entered the fray in over 24. He hasn’t been at all threatening, but he’s put in the proverbial shift.
Hello again! Now, a point of order to start with: it is unacceptable to celebrate the birthday of a plastic donkey. Even semi-ironically. Now, the players are on their way back out and we’ve got some cricket to watch.
That’s it from me for now. Simon will be with you for the first part of the final session. You can email him here or tweet @simon_burnton. Bye!
66th over: England 207-3 (Root 45, Buttler 37) That’s the end of a very good session for England. They lost Joe Denly for a breezy 69 before Joe Root and Jos Buttler extended the lead to 330 against a weakened West Indies attack.
64th over: England 205-3 (Root 44, Buttler 36) The game is meandering towards tea, with three more no-risk runs off Brathwaite.
“Back at the Kosice Ice Hockey Arena, Produce put Pipe to the sword by 8-2 (‘a slaughter’ said our correspondent),” says Brian Withington. “Just seen video of the machine pleasingly polishing the ice – would make the classic ‘skiddy bounce’ track provided paceman could get sufficient traction in the run up. Game of the night coming up appears to be Foundry vs Steelworks, but something may have been lost in translation. Just heard that both teams are looking very slick in the warm up especially Steelworks (‘the dogs’ says my bruv), and that Foundry may actually be Blast Furnace. Makes me wonder what franchise names the ECB will come up with for The Hundred.”
What language is this you’re speaking?
REVIEW! England 202-3 (Buttler not out 35)
That was a strange incident. Buttler tried to sweep a filthy delivery from Chase, missed and was given out caught behind! He reviewed instantly and replays showed the ball missed the bat by a long way.
62nd over: England 201-3 (Root 41, Buttler 35) Buttler is beaten, flashing at a grubber from Brathwaite. He and Root will be furious if they get out to Brathwaite or Chase, especially so close to tea. A lot of runs are going to be scored this evening, and the laws of the game dictate that you cannot score them while sitting in the dressing-room.