BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies lost four wickets in the last 38 minutes of the opening day, to squander precious momentum and gift England the early advantage in the first Wisden Trophy Test here yesterday.
Half-centuries from Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Roston Chase had propelled the hosts to 240 for four inside the final hour but four wickets tumbled for 24 runs to leave them tottering on 264 for eight at the close at Kensington Oval.
Marquee seamer James Anderson triggered the late collapse, taking three of the wickets to fall with the second new ball, as England clawed their way back into the contest after finding life difficult early on.
The slide started when Chase, after facing 118 balls in 145 minutes and striking five fours and a six, edged one from Anderson that left him and was caught at first slip by Joe Root – one of three catches on the day for the England skipper.
Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich perished in Anderson’s next over without scoring, top-edging a gentle catch to Jos Buttler at second slip after finding himself in a tangle, after attempting to bail out of a pull at a shortish delivery.
Captain Jason Holder (5) spent eight balls at the crease before tamely tapping a return catch back to Anderson and seamer Ben Stokes claimed the day’s final wicket to signal the close, when he got Kemar Roach to glove a lifter to Root at first slip without scoring.
Anderson finished with four for 33 while Stokes ended with three for 47.
Hetmyer, who played with his typical flair and assurance to end unbeaten on 56, will carry West Indies’ hopes into the second day of the contest.
The Windies had earlier made a strong start to the affair after winning the toss and
batting, as debutant John Campbell, with 44, and Kraigg Brathwaite, 40, put on 53 for the first wicket.
Showing little signs of nerves, the 25-year-old Campbell counted eight fours off 53 deliveries in 74 minutes at the crease. He got off the mark with a boundary when he steered left-arm seamer Sam Curran through gully and then steadily grew in confidence.
He looked set for a fifty when he missed a sweep at off-spinner Moeen Ali and was lbw, 40 minutes before lunch.
Brathwaite and Hope, who fashioned a classy top score of 57, then took West Indies to lunch on 89 for one before afterwards extending their second wicket stand to 73.
The right-handed Brathwaite, searching for form after lean recent tours of India and Bangladesh, emerged from a sluggish start to up the tempo in the second hour, stroking Moeen to the cover boundary before clearing the long on boundary a few balls later in the same over.
Unbeaten on 31 at the interval, he added just nine before wafting at one from Stokes, just over an hour after the resumption, and edging a straightforward catch to Root at first slip at 126 for three.
He faced 130 balls in a shade over three hours and counted three fours and a six.
Ten balls later in Stokes’s next over, new batsman Darren Bravo missed a full length delivery and was lbw for two, in his first taste of Test cricket in 27 months, but two partnerships then helped West Indies rebuild.
First, Hope and Chase, who made 54, put on 46 for the fourth wicket which saw West Indies to 132 for three at the tea interval – taken 25 minutes early due to a sharp shower.
Hope, unbeaten on 42 at tea, reached his fifth Test half-century half-hour after the resumption but perished half hour later, inside-edging a wide ball from Anderson to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes at 174 for four.
Chase then found an ally in the exciting Hetmyer who played with his usual authority in helping to add a further 66 for the fifth wicket.
Hetmyer smashed five fours and a couple of straight sixes in an innings so far lasting 60 balls and 101 minutes. Dropped at cover on three off Anderson, he raised his fifth half-century in his 11th Test at run-a-ball pace, with a cover-driven boundary off the same bowler.
He took a liking to Moeen, twice drilling him to the extra cover boundary in one over before clearing the ropes at long on a few overs later.
His downfall in the third over with the second new ball, however, led to the Windies late slide as England hit back strongly.