England, forecast rain aside, should wrap this up today. Wood took a couple of overs to hit his straps and is looking lethal and Jimmy Anderson is bowling like a dream. Given the series is gone for West Indies, they’ve got the dead-rubber shoulder shrugs and they’re a batsman light, two more wickets would let Wood feast on the rabbits Roach, Jospeh and Gabriel. If any afternoon showers are not protracted, all is set fair for a crushing victory. WI need another 450 to win.
Chase is struck on the hands by a short-pitched brute from Wood that rears up and pins his fingers on the bat handle. Little wonder he does the universal dance of pain as he wags his hand. He takes himself up the other end with a tip and run into the legside and Wood has three balls at Hetmyer who, like Corporal Jack Jones’ foes, didn’t like it up him in the first innings. Wood forces him on to his back as the bouncer ramps up and Hetmyer takes ungainly evasive action but he survives the last ball with a solid block and the players troop off for lunch.
Chase tucks a single off his front pad for a single after soundly defending four of Stokes’ deliveries giving Hetnyer one to face, which he covers with an angled bat.
Wood’s pace is down from Sunday’s peak and he is having problems with the footholds. He draws Hope into a drive outside off, making him reach for it and the ball sails over point for four. But then Wood corrects his line and exposes Hope’s technical flaw, playing so far in front of his body while jerking his feet off the ground. Who but the best and bravest could blame the lad for not wanting to get hit, but it’s a flaw that can be exploited by the very quick. Hetmyer is off the mark first ball with a flick to midwicket off middle Wood fires it across the left-hander from round the wicket.
Hope c Broad b Wood 14 Can’t cope with a quick delivery fired into his body, so he jabs his bat at the ball to stop it hitting/hurting him, and takes his bottom hand off on evasive action, It forces the ball to spoon off the unstable blade and lob to cover. FOW 31/4
Almost a carbon copy of Chase’s first-dig dismissal when he stands on his toes to punch the ball in his stance without moving his feet. The ball skims the edge and jets past third slip who dives to his right but cannot reach it. Chase tells himself off, taps his helmet then gets back into line.
Shot! From Shai Hope off Mark Wood. He lets the ball come to him in the slot and smears a drive for four through extra. Not such an explosive start from Wood who is bowling at a fair lick but goes too short a couple of times either to intimidate or draw a false stroke.
The umpire loses his Panama to the wind at the moment that Stokes hits his delivery stride. It doens’t distract him as he defends on the back foot. What happens if he was out? asks Jeff Dujon. Can the umpire call dead ball after the fact? Where’s Tom Smith when you need him? A successive maiden for Stokes who is persistently probing that fifth stump line apart from the odd effort ball.
OVER 12: WI 16/3 (Hope 4* Chase 2*)
He hits his mark straight up, firing the first couple in at 88mph. Hope blocks the first hurriedly, lets the next one which skids through go by. Wood tries the bouncer next and Hope ducks beneath it and follows it up with the scripted tempter, pushed fuller and wider. Hope is gulled enough to chase it and flashes at it with hard hands but it keeps moving away from the bat and he survives. Hope jerks a defensive off middle and leg past Jennings at short leg and they run two.
OVER 11: WI 14/3 (Hope 2* Chase 2*)
Stokes has his first bowl of the match, having been used as a workhorse in Barbados and Antigua, and begins with a maiden. He makes the batsmen play at five of them and Chase is up to it. We’re going all Durham – Mark Wood will come on from the other end.
OVER 10: WI 14/3 (Hope 2* Chase 2*)
Broad is bowling well, getting the ball to move off the pitch and he even hits a crack which makes it veer crazily off course> Hope takes a single with a positive defensive into the infield and Chase punches one to cover. The groundstaff are mustered by the covers like David Steel’s Liberals.
OVER 9: WI 12/3 (Hope 1* Chase 1*)
Wood and Stokes are warming up theatrically, desperate for a bowl before it’s too late. They’re going to have to rip it out of Anderson’s mitt, though. Hope survives by the skin of his teeth when one bites into the teeth and spits past the edge. The wind is getting up and showers are forecast. Hope is off the mark from the 27th delivery he has faced with a flick off middle and leg for a single.
OVER 8: WI 11/3 (Hope 0* Chase 1*)
Huge appeal from Mark Wood at mid on when Broad’s leg-cutter nibbles in at Chase and strikes him on the right thighpad on its way into Bairstow’s gloves. His team-mates edge away from him in feat of being tainted by his embarrassment. Decent over from Broad but the two right-handers have so far been better at resisting the temptation to drive.
OVER 7: WI 11/3 (Hope 0* Chase 1*)
Chase avoids the king pair or golden spectacles and gets off the mark with a backward defensive squeezed past gully. Anderson’s new run-up, a touch longer not so high a jump in his delivery stride, pays immediate dividends.
Bravo c Root b Bravo 0 A Mike Yarwood impression of Campbell’s dismissal in terms of the stroke played – an airy, needless drive. The difference being that he, with a looser grip caused by his finger injury, nicks off to second slip rather than gully. FOW 10/3
OVER 6: WI 10/2 (Hope 0* Bravo 0*)
Buttler has been sent to hide from Broad down in the long pasture and Moeen takes his place at third slip. Broad has that high-stepping zip in his stride and bowling wobble seam, angling the ball into the right-hander. He plugs away on a good length and gradually cranks up his speed to 85mph.
Since the start of 2018 Jos Buttler’s catch percentage of 58% is the worst in the world (by a huge margin). Five England fielders feature in the bottom ten for catch success in this period. #WIvENGpic.twitter.com/LJQ6uQeevU
— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) February 12, 2019
OVER 5: WI 10/2 (Hope 0* Bravo 0*)
Bravo, with stitches in his burst finger, dampens the drama for a couple of balls with a pair of resolute attempts to get into line but then flashes at drives that zip past into Bairstow’s gloves. The breeze and seam movement are Anderson’s weapons of choice today and the batsmen cannot cope.
OVER 4: WI 10/2 (Hope 0* Bravo 0*)
Jos Buttler drops another chance off Stuart Broad at third slip, He got his hands to it at chest height after Hope played an daft, wafty, no foot movement drive. It was a dolly that hit him on the palm and was on the grass before he could wrap his fingers round. Give him the gloves or stick him at cover. Pan hands. Stokes pats him on the back. Broad looks like he’d like to shoot a man in Beausejour, just to watch him die.
OVER 3: WI 10/2 (Hope 0* Bravo 0*)
Anderson is devouring the batsmen on toast here. He beats Bravo four ways, first striking the pad followed by one that seams past the edge. Next up is a climber that explodes off a decent length and Bravo has to jack-knife his bat out of the way and then he catches him on the crease fending at one that jags away and was ya far from trimming his glove. Wicket maiden.
It was too high and Bravo survives the golden duck review.
Bravo lbw b AndersonLooked a little high because Bravo was off his feet as he tried to glance it round the corner.
Brathwaite c Stokes b Anderson 8 Anderson, who took the rare opportunity while England batted for more than a session yesterday, to spend a couple of hours working in the nets, hits the sweet spot straight away, luring Brathwaite forward and nicking him off to second slip. Stokes drops his hands too soon and the ball strikes him on the left wrist but it pops back up tamely fro him to grasp. FOW 10/2
OVER 2: WI 10/1 (Brathwaite 8* Hope 0*)
Broad begins with some floaty filth angled into Brathwaite’s pads at 80mph and the opener tucks the second ball off his pads for three. Broad adjusts for Hope and hits the deck a bit harder, striking him on the pad, but too high, and enticing him into a tenatative prod outside off that whistles past the edge. Moeen, who took that stunner, fielded at fine leg for the second over.
OVER 1: WI 7/1 (Brathwaite 5* Hope 0*)
Anderson opens the bowling with three slips and a gully. Because it’s the start of an innings, we get Jerusalem again. Brathwaite, all loosey goosey, plays a punch away from his body and the ball sails between third slip and gully at chin height for four. Flukey but productive. He takes a single off the next ball with a tickle round the corner then Anderson bags Campbell for a golden duck when the opener imitates his partner with a no-footwork flash outside off. Root calls up a fourth slip and short leg for Hope. Anderson fancies pinning him and targets that big front pad for leg-before or a bat-pad catch but in doing so pushes it too far across and Hope takes two leg byes.
Campbell c Moeen b Anderson 0 Moeen takes a one-handed blinder at gully high to his right. Campbell was tempted into pushing forward, played down the wrong line and nicked off. It took a special catch to hang on to it because it flew. FOW 5/1
England have declared, giving themselves five sessions plus 84 minutes to bowl West Indies out. The nominal target the 10 fit batsmen will be chasing for a 3-0 victory is 485.
Root c Hetmyer b Gabriel 122 Full toss from Gabriel and Root, falling over a little to the offside, chips it to short midwicket. The wicket also brings the declaration. FOW 361/5
OVER 105: ENG 360/4 (Root 122* Stokes 47*)
Alzarri Joseph, who was wayward yesterday, comes round the wicket to Stokes and starts with a ball on a good length. Stokes swings hard again and slogs it over midwicket for four. Joseph adapts to a one-day line, pushing it wider and fuller to dry up the boundaries and from the following five balls they take three singles and a two. The one dot ball comes when Root, trying too hard to show his Big Bash licks, again tries to ramp an 85+mph bowler over his shoulder. ENG lead by 483
OVER 104: ENG 351/4 (Root 119* Stokes 41*)
Root flicks another single, this time off Gabriel, for a single down to fine leg. Stokes pulls one hard to the midwicket sweeper and Root, whose dentist must hate him, then tries to scoop Gabriel – at 88mph- over his shoulder by switching into a French cricket stance bending and laying down the bat as a ramp. Fortunately it misses bat and grille. Way to provoke, Gabriel, Joe. The last ball is on a good length and Root murders it through the covers with Pierrepoint’s professionalism.
OVER 103: ENG 345/4 (Root 114* Stokes 40*)
Root adds another with a glance into the legside. Stokes, who has his eye in, throws the lot at a cover drive that deserved four but was stopped by the fielder with hands that he has to wring. Roach follows up with a bouncer that trampolines over Stokes’ shoulder and his hook for four byes but the arc of his bat swing was not wasted because he mows the next ball into orbit, tonking it over midwicket for six.
OVER 102: ENG 334/4 (Root 113* Stokes 34*)
Shannon Gabriel, facing an ICC investigation for alleged homophobic sledging last night, opens the bowling at a slippery lick, touching 90mph. Stokes leans on to the back foot to play a backward defensive and is beaten all over the shop by one that rears up and sears away from the edge. A ball that defines ‘unplayable’. Stokes gets off strike with a leg-bye off his thigh pad as he missed a nudge round the corner but his respite is only for a ball after Root steers a dab down to third man. Interesting stats here from Cricinfo that put Jason Holder’s ban into some context:
OVER 101: ENG 332/4 (Root 112* Stokes 34*)
Roach opens the bowling with a ball 21 overs old. Root tucks a single off his hip, a staid prelude to Stokes charging on to the dancefloor like a wallflower at the end of a wedding at the first strains of Come on Eileen. He heaves a slog drive and carts the ball one-bounce for four past the bowler. The next is banged in, doesn’t get up, and Stokes controls his pull, getting on top of it to cuff it for a single. Root is treated to a wide and a vicious leaper off a good length which almost has him rubbing his hands in glee at the prospect of what his bowlers can evoke from this pitch. ENG lead by 455
Time for Jerusalem for the umpteenth time in the match. They’ve made it meaningless with repetition. Blake and Parry reduced to muzak. Well done everyone. Sound the flippin’ trumpets.
Shannon Gabriel update
Nick Hoult has the latest here.
ICC officials in Dubai woke up this morning to reports of the alleged incident involving Gabriel during the third Test in St Lucia and after reviewing the footage are considering taking action with a charge likely by the end of play today.
And welcome to coverage of the fourth day’s play from St Lucia. West Indies, down a bowler and with the series won, produced lively spells yesterday morning and with the new ball but it was been England’s day. The focus has been on Joe Root for countering presumed homophobic abuse with such compassion and integrity. Nick Hoult will have more on the story imminently but lets us know that
The International Cricket Council will investigate the alleged homophobic comments made by West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel to England captain Joe Root and are considering charging him under cricket’s code of conduct that covers incidents of personal abuse.
In terms of the game and where we are, Root, having not score a hundred between Aug 2017 and Sept 2018, has now made one in three successive series. But the key to England’s dominance, of how they turned the screw, has been the partnerships of 54 for the second wicket, 74 for the third, 107 for the fourth and 71* for the fifth. England lead by 448 and will probably look to have some fun for 90 minutes before declaring and unleashing Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Mark Wood and Moeen Ali. Darren Bravo will bat but we’re still unsure about Keemo Paul who, like Mr Spiggot – ‘Spiggot by name and Spiggot by nature’ – may be hopping around on one leg if called upon.
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