Getty Images
Getty Images

The penultimate day of a Test match usually springs up surprises. It is often Day Four that sets the tone of a Test, and the same happened in the second Test between England and West Indies. Resuming at 171 for 3, England declared on 490 for 8 courtesy fine fifties from Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes. West Indies had their moments but remained rusty to handover the momentum to hosts. They now need another 317 runs to level the series on Day Five though they have all 10 wickets standing. Let us walk through some top moments of the day:

Root done by awkward bounce:

Root took minimal time to get going. He notched up consecutive fifties in the Test (for the first time in his career) and was ready to consolidate. Nonetheless, West Indies bowled outside off to him to invite an edge. In the midst of all that Shannon Gabriel’s produced awkward bounce to do the trick. Root had to play at it and managed a late cut to give a catch to gully.

Dawid Malan’s resolute knock:

Stokes joined Malan at the fall of Root’s wicket. While Stokes scored at will, Malan persisted resiliently. He covered his stumps, moved across and played a cautious knock. Despite not being fluent at times, Malan toiled for 186 balls to score 61. A straight, full delivery from Roston Chase dismissed him before tea.

Stokes’ merry run:

Stokes adjusted to the seaming conditions and helped himself to his 7th Test ton on the opening day. He carried on in similar fashion in the second innings. He took little time to settle in, found the gaps and scored on both sides of the field. He was at his best against fast bowlers, especially his newfound rival Gabriel.

Chase goes full and straight:

England were running away with the lead courtesy a 91-run stand between Malan and Stokes. Then Chase delivered when it mattered. Stokes went for a glory shot to unsettle Chase, but found the fielder at wide long off. Chase wasn’t done yet. He kept varying his pace and bowled straight, rattling the stumps to dismiss Malan and Jonny Bairstow. From 303 for 4 England stumbled to 327 for 7.

Moeen and his unmatched ‘impact’:

England went into tea with a lead of 188 and 3 wickets in hand. At that stage they needed contribution from their famed lower order. Moeen stood out once again in crisis situation and played an impactful, probably game-changing, innings of 84 in 93 balls. There was no stopping Moeen: his innings was filled with sweeps, drives, flicks and backfoot punches to add to West Indies’ miseries.

Nasser Hussain rightly stated that Moeen damaged all the hard work done by West Indies in this contest. He even had a reprieve on 32 (he was out on a no-ball from Devendra Bishoo) and departed with England well past 400.

 

England did not deter after Moeen’s fall. Woakes and Stuart Broad continued to stretch the lead before Root declared with England leading by 321 runs. West Indies have a long way to go if they have to enforce a desirable result in the final innings of the match.