BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Kemar Roach spearheaded a devastating West Indies fast-bowling effort to rout England for 77 and give their team a huge 212-run first innings lead at tea on the second day of the first Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Thursday.
Replying to the home side’s first innings total of 289, highlighted by a top score of 81 from Shimron Hetmyer and James Anderson’s 27th five-wicket innings haul, the visitors were blown away in 30.2 overs of unrestrained aggression from all four members of a pace attack in which the shortest of the quartet, Roach, stood tallest.
His haul of 5/17 from 11 overs recaptured his best form of earlier years, before his career was threatened by a serious shoulder injury.
Captain Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph snared two wickets apiece, while Shannon Gabriel, the fastest of them all, had to be satisfied with the lone wicket of Sam Curran.
It was England’s preference for Curran as opening bowling partner to Anderson, ahead of the experienced Stuart Broad, which was one of the main talking points on the opening day.
Given Curran’s lack of success with the ball and the West Indies bowlers’ first innings domination, it is likely to be a discussion intensified many times more by the end of day two.
Holder declined to enforce the follow-on as the West Indies look to build on that first-innings advantage in the final session of the day.
Resuming at 30/1 at lunch after Anderson and Ben Stokes had taken the final two West Indian wickets for the addition of 35 runs, England were rocked on to the back foot almost immediately, courtesy of Roach.
Opener Rory Burns played on, while Jonny Bairstow was bowled off his elbow as the hosts sought to exploit the oft-proven vulnerability of the England top-order.
Holder then claimed the prized wicket of his opposite number when Joe Root was trapped lbw for four.
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Ben Stokes fell in similar manner to Roach shortly after and Moeen Ali top-edged his first delivery to be well caught by Joseph on the fine-leg boundary.
While he could not complete the hat trick, Roach would not be denied a five-wicket haul, which he achieved when Joss Buttler was caught behind.
England had lost five wickets for five runs to be reeling at 49/7, and although Curran and Adil Rashid struck a couple boundaries apiece, it could not prevent Joseph and Gabriel finishing off the job to put their team in complete control.