England set to attack again with another draw likely on day five

By Sports Desk March 19, 2022

England have again put themselves in position to attack West Indies on the final day of a Test after belatedly bringing the hosts' first innings to a close in Barbados.

The tourists were frustrated on day five of the first Test in Antigua when the Windies preserved a draw with six wickets in hand.

But Joe Root's side will get a chance to put that right on Sunday after once more moving slowly in the right direction in the second match.

England closed on 40-0 on day four, 136 ahead and no doubt weighing up how long into the next session they should bat for before pursuing victory.

Root may have to take a risk, given this track has so far favoured the batsmen, with the hosts having resumed on 288-4 in reply to England's 507-9 declared.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite was unbeaten on 109 and continued to frustrate England despite the absence of the sort of long-term partner he had found in Jermaine Blackwood the previous day.

There were still 100-ball stands with Alzarri Joseph (19) and Joshua Da Silva (33) before Brathwaite finally departed to Jack Leach and the new ball for 160, leaving West Indies on 385-7.

That total reached 411 before England were able to bat again, with 15 overs yielding 40 runs for Alex Lees (18 not out) and Zak Crawley (21 no).

Brathwaite bats time

England's first-innings total meant the Windies were never likely to win this second Test. Instead, their aim with the bat was to drag their first innings out as long as possible.

Brathwaite could not have done much more on that front, his marathon stint in the middle using up an incredible 489 balls. He has only once faced more balls across both innings of a Test match, when scoring 126 and 85 against Sri Lanka last year.

Outlasted by Leach

Brathwaite's exhaustion could only be matched by the man who finally took his wicket, as Leach bowled 69.5 overs – again, his second-most in a Test after his 73.4 in the first meeting last week.

Despite those efforts, Leach produced the most economical bowling figures of his career, his 3-118 at a rate of 1.68 as he crucially accounted for three of the four West Indies batsmen to make 30 or more.

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