Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler gave England an impressive lead on day one of the decisive third Test of the Wisden Trophy at Old Trafford. Both the batsmen made unbeaten half-centuries.
The West Indies seemed to have contained the English side at 122-4 after 122-4 after Jason Holder won the toss. For the guests, Kemar Roach stood out with his 2-56 in Manchester on Friday.
For the first time in the series, both the batsmen have raised their bats, Pope (91 not out) and the under-pressure Buttler (56no) partnered for 136 runs and took Joe Root’s team to 258-4 before the stumps were drawn 15 minutes early due to bad light.
To begin the match Rory Burns made 57 at the top of the order before he was caught all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall, who is playing his first game in the series.
England made some significant changes to the team including moving Ben Stokes up to number four and picking five-strong bowling attackers including Jofra Archer and James Anderson. This can be the tough lineup for the Windies but the weather could prevent either side from clinching a win.
English side were 66-2 at lunch after West Indies brilliantly run out captain Joe Root (19) by a direct hit from Roston Chase.
Stokes was sent back by Roach at 20. The man of the match in the second Test, Stokes was not able to contribute much this time. Burns was next to join the batting attack who patiently played the inning before Cornwall took the centre stage to send Burns back. This left England four wickets down before tea.
Pope took on the pitch next and his classy style troubled the Windies bowlers who were not able to stop him and soon he made 50 off 77 balls. Buttler also played watchfully hitting two sixes on deliveries from spinner Cornwall and reached his half-century, with West Indies unable to strike with the new ball.
Roach was the pick of the Windies bowlers who conjured up special delivery to ensure the in-form Stokes, who made a hundred and a rapid half-century in the last week’s winner game does not get a chance this time.
Cornwall although wicket-less on the first day certainly made an impact on the game. The 6ft 6in tall, 22 stone Antiguan made a sharp attempt to get rid of Burns.
When Buttler joined Pope, the English side was in danger of being dismissed cheaply. Pope who has been out of sorts in the series returned to form in style in the third Test and with great support from Buttler his elegant shots saved the day for the team.