Ben Stokes century sets up England declaration before West Indies dig in

West Indies 71 for 1 (Brooks 31*, Brathwaite 28*) path England 507 for 9 dec (Root 153, Stokes 120, Lawrence 91) by 436 runs

Ben Stokes made a welcome return to the ranks of Check centurion with a belligerent show towards West Indies as England set a commanding first-innings complete.

It had been effectively over 18 months and 23 Check innings with no ton for Stokes and far has occurred in that point – from shedding his beloved father, Ged, to a four-and-a-half-month absence from the sport throughout which he had two operations to restore a severe finger damage and took trip to handle his psychological well being. However as soon as he bought happening the second morning in Barbados, it was one thing to behold.

He struck 4 sixes and 11 fours as he reached 89 off simply 92 balls by lunch, having began the day on nought after Dan Lawrence fell on the final ball of the opening day.

A quieter interval ensued after the interval as Kemar Roach and Jason Holder put the lid on England’s scoring for a time, however Stokes went out swinging as soon as extra, for 120, after citing his eleventh Check hundred with a scampered single and celebrating along with his crooked-fingered salute to the heavens in reminiscence of his dad, who died in December 2020. Stokes’ final Check century had come towards West Indies at Outdated Trafford in July of that 12 months.

In the meantime, his captain, Joe Root, was on the different finish of the pitch for essentially the most half, throughout a 129-run partnership for the fourth wicket, having introduced up his second consecutive Check century the night earlier than, his eighth in 19 Exams because the begin of 2021.

Root ended up with 153 on this event, earlier than leaving Stokes to hold on after which seeing a 75-run seventh-wicket stand between Chris Woakes and Ben Foakes, permitting him to on 507 for 9 shortly after tea.

Debutant Matthew Fisher, drafted into the squad after the Ashes debacle and handed his likelihood when Craig Overton fell in poor health on the eve of this match, struck with simply his second ball in worldwide cricket earlier than Kraigg Brathwaite and Shamarh Brooks resisted additional harm to steer West Indies to 71 for 1 on the shut.

Having seen John Campbell thread his first ball to the rope via backward level, Fisher elicited a prod exterior off-stump and the ball flew off the toe-end of Campbell’s bat to Foakes behind the stumps. Poignantly, as he celebrated his maiden Check wicket, Fisher raised his finger skyward in tribute to his personal father, Phil, who died when Matthew was simply 14.

Fisher thought he had his second wicket when Brooks jabbed within the route of second slip, the place Zak Crawley stooped very low to seize the ball in his fingertips, though he got here up trying unsure as as to if it had been grounded within the course of and replays confirmed it had, confirming the not-out delicate sign.

Brathwaite was then given out lbw on 14, Jack Leach skidding one into his again pack – however not earlier than it had grazed the bat, because the DRS confirmed to reprieve West Indies’ captain.

Earlier, Stokes and Root had England innings trying like London buses as they carried their facet previous 300. That mark had evaded them for 12 innings and greater than six months, till the primary Check in Antigua, after they racked up 311 and 349 for six declared.

Having begun the day on 244 for 3, with Root on 119, Stokes lit up the morning. He twice superior on left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul to launch him down the bottom for six in consecutive overs, citing his fifty within the second occasion. He later muscled Permaul over the fence at midwicket earlier than clubbing the very subsequent ball over cowl for 4.

Stokes took to Alzarri Joseph within the following over with three consecutive fours, citing the 100-partnership with Root through a strong drive via cowl earlier than launching him over long-off and thru midwicket. However Stokes wasn’t performed, passing 5000 Check runs with a mow down the bottom to clear the fence by a long way.

Root handed 150 for the twelfth time in his profession, essentially the most by any England batter, however then Roach, along with his first ball again into the assault and the seventh after lunch, ended his stick with one which nipped again from exterior off and rapped the entrance pad. Initially adjudged not out by umpire Nigel Duguid, the hosts reviewed and Hawk-Eye confirmed the ball crashing into the highest of leg stump to maneuver Roach previous Sir Garry Sobers and clear into seventh on West Indies’ listing of all-time wicket-takers.

Jonny Bairstow crashed Jayden Seales down the bottom and thru the covers earlier than holing out to deep midwicket off Joseph, and with that Stokes threw the bat once more. He heaved Brathwaite over the fence at deep midwicket for his first boundary since lunch, some 13.2 overs after the resumption, and was very almost out on the following ball, lofting Brathwaite to long-on, the place Campbell spilled a troublesome likelihood whereas stepping on the rope. Stokes got here undone going huge once more one ball later, this time skying Brathwaite to Brooks at long-off.

West Indies took three wickets for eight runs within the house of 14 balls, prompting Root to name his males in six overs into the night session. Permaul, who had are available for some powerful therapy, notably by the hands of Stokes, had Foakes and Leach stumped by Joshua Da Silva to bookend Woakes’ dismissal, sending Roach excessive into the air on the leg facet to be caught by Seales.

Valkerie Baynes is a common editor at ESPNcricinfo

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