LONDON, CMC – Seamer Ben Stokes exploited ideal swing conditions to rout West Indies with a six-wicket haul but the Caribbean side hit back to rock England, as 14 wickets fell on the opening day of the decisive Lord’s Test here Thursday.
Choosing to bat first, the Windies were bundled out for 123 in their first innings, with left-handed opener Kieran Powell top-scoring with 39 and second Test hero Shai Hope getting 29.
However, they were the only two to pass 20 as West Indies collapsed from a promising position of 78 for two after lunch, losing their last eight wickets for 45 runs.
Stokes finished with career-best figures of six for 22 while fellow seamers Jimmy Anderson (2-31) and Toby Roland-Jones (2-32) claimed two wickets apiece in support.
England’s hopes of establishing a foothold in the game were then dashed as pacers Jason Holder (2-18) and Kemar Roach (2-21) produced key strikes to leave the hosts reeling at 46 for four – 77 runs behind on first innings.
Stokes and Dawid Malan, both unbeaten on 13, were propping up the innings in a fledgling 22-run fifth wicket stand when bad light ended play prematurely.
Entering the contest on the back of their stunning Headingley triumph, West Indies were left to rue their decision to bat once the murky weather rolled in to replace the sunshine, leaving their batsmen at the mercy of the England seamers in familiar conditions. Rain intervened after nearly an hour to rob the session of almost 40 minutes, with the Windies losing a wicket on either side of the break courtesy of Anderson on both occasions.
Opener Kraigg Brathwaite, dropped on three at first slip by Alastair Cook off Anderson in the day’s third over, added just seven before nicking a catch to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow with the score on 18.
And Kyle Hope’s difficult series continued when he perished without scoring in the third over following the rain break, trying to leave alone a wide one but edging a catch behind at 22 for two.
Powell and Shai Hope then combined in a solid 56-run, third wicket stand which carried the Windies to lunch on 35 for two and kept them afloat for an hour afterwards.
Powell faced 98 balls in a shade under 2-1/2 hours at the crease and struck six fours while the right-handed Hope lasted 79 minutes and faced 57 deliveries. He struck seven fours – mostly sweetly timed off-side drives.
His dismissal triggered the slide and in the next over, Powell followed, driving a return catch to Stokes in the next over without a run added at 78 for four.
Sixteen balls later, Jermaine Blackwood missed a wild swing at Roland-Jones and was bowled for one and Roston Chase spent 36 balls over 18 and struck four fours before he was turned inside out by a Stokes leg-cutter and bowled off-stump.
When wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich nicked a push at Stokes and was taken at first slip by Cook for one, the Windies were hanging by a thread at 101 for seven, and they managed to limp to tea with no further loss at 119.
After the resumption, the last three wickets crashed for just four runs in the space of 21 deliveries as captain Jason Holder (9) failed to add Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel both perished without scoring.
West Indies also made the most of the dreary conditions and made early inroads into the England innings. Roach claimed Mark Stoneman to a catch at the wicket for one with as many on the board in the third over and returned later in the same spell to find Cook’s edge for 10, as wicketkeeper Dowrich completed his second catch.
Holder then turned the game on its head when he knocked over Tom Westley for eight and captain Joe Root for one in successive overs.
The right armer squared up Westley and trapped him lbw and then claimed Root to a catch at first slip by Kieran Powell, as the in-form batsman attempted a forcing backfoot drive off a rising delivery from back of a length.
In disarray at 24 for four, England were given respite by Stokes and Malan who both played positively in the gloom, under the floodlights.