Kemar Roach on Thursday spearheaded a devastating West Indies fast-bowling effort to rout England for 77 in their first innings and put his team in a commanding position on the second day of the first Test at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.
At stumps England had hit back in limiting the hosts to 127-6 in their second innings, but the West Indies already had a formidable overall lead of 339 runs at the end of a day dominated by bowlers with 18 wickets falling.
If that trend were to continue into day three then England are likely to struggle to avoid suffering defeat inside three days, the same fate they suffered when the two teams last met at the venue in the finale of the previous tour in 2015.
It will take tremendous resolve by Joe Root’s side to regain their composure at the crease after being swept aside so ruthlessly first time round.
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 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.
“The ball came out pretty well. I am happy with the performance today,” Roach said. “The pitch has toughened up for the batsmen. It is a bit jumpy and uneven. The aim was to make the batsmen play as much as possible.”
AUSTRALIA V SRI LANKA
AFP, BRISBANE, Australia
Half-centuries from Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne yesterday put Australia firmly in command of the day-night Test against Sri Lanka at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Head hit a Test best 84 and Labuschagne posted 81 as Australia amassed 323 to hold an imposing 179-run innings lead over the Sri Lanka after the second day.
Sri Lanka suffered further indignity losing the wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne on the final ball of the day by Pat Cummins for 3 as the tourists had to negotiate a tricky six overs facing the pink ball under lights.
Karunaratne was snapped up behind by Tim Paine as Sri Lanka reached stumps at 17-1 with Lahiru Thirimanne on 6 to trail by 162 runs overall and battling to avoid defeat with three days left.
Head was trapped leg before wicket by Suranga Lakmal, meaning no Australia batsman has scored a Test century in nine innings against India and Sri Lanka this summer.
Head sought a review, but it sided with the umpire’s call and he was on his way, shaking his head.
Labuschagne was out shortly before dinner also with a maiden Test century beckoning.
His 150-ball knock ended when he skipped down the wicket to lift a drive, only to find the bottom of his bat and was taken at short mid-on by Thirimanne.
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