BRIDGETOWN – Roston Chase took three wickets with his off-spin in the afternoon session as the West Indies closed in on a massive victory over England on the fourth day of the first Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Saturday.
Set the improbable target of 628 to win, or more hopefully required to bat two days to save the match, the tourists lost four wickets in the middle period of the day to limp to tea at 217 for six.
Chase, who ended opening batsman Rory Burns’ quest for a maiden Test century off the final delivery in the morning period of play, was persisted with by captain Jason Holder for the next two hours and earned the reward of the wickets of England skipper Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali.
Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who would have had the wicket of Root but was called for a no-ball when the batsman gloved a sharp lifted to Holder in the slips, made amends by dismissing Jonny Bairstow to a leg-side catch by stand-in wicketkeeper Shai Hope.
Regular wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich has yet to take the field for the day due to back stiffness.
In contrast to Holder’s outstanding performances in front of his home crowd, this match has been a miserable experience for Root.
Reprieved by Gabriel’s front foot indiscretion, he failed to take full advantage of the let-off. Partnered by Stokes after Bairstow’s demise for 30, England’s batting leader never looked settled at the crease and eventually wafted outside the off-stump at chase to give Darren Bravo a straightforward catch at slip to depart for 22.
Windies are just four wickets away from victory in Barbados!
— ICC (@ICC) January 26, 2019
Stokes, clearly out of form, laboured through his innings of 34. Given out leg-before off Chase early in his innings he was rescued by a television review which showed an inside-edge onto the bat. But the tall spinner’s perseverance eventually paid off when another lbw shout went in the West Indies’ favour nearing the end of the session.
Moeen records a pair
There was more celebration to follow for Chase and his teammates minutes later when an indecisive Moeen followed an innocuous delivery angled cross him and guided a catch to a jubilant Holder at second slip. Dismissed first ball in the first innings rout for just 77, Moeen suffered the indignity of a pair for the first time in his Test career.
Jos Buttler and wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes were left with the task to keep the West Indies waiting in the final session of the day.
Ben Stokes passes 3,000 runs in Test cricket 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/CfpNq2VeFk
— ICC (@ICC) January 26, 2019
Burns played attractively, if sometimes riskily, in getting to 84 in the morning session, the highest score of a young Test career which is just into its fourth match.
But he lost opening partner Keaton Jennings for 14 after a stand of 85, driving at Alzarri Joseph in the lanky fast bowler’s first over of the morning for Holder to pull down a sharp catch high to his left at third slip.
Bairstow joined Burns and the two instinctively attacking players mixed discipline with aggression in a partnership of 49 which took them to the verge of the lunch interval when another bowling change by Holder brought a second wicket, Chase striking with his fifth delivery as Burns left a gap between pad and pad pushing forward to a straight ball which hit the top of off-stump.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)