England vs West Indies, 2nd Test, Day 5: Stokes shines as Eng beat WI by 113 runs


England team was expected to hit back and they have done it in some style that too in 4 days. West Indies put them in on a cloudy day in Manchester and were very discipline for the first 3 hours to reduce England to 81 /3 with control disciplined stuff. At that time came Benjamin Stokes and joined hands with Dominic Sibley and started to consolidate with sedate batting keeping aside their ego.

Sibley deserves credit as he was ready to grind out and score the hard reasons. Stokes, on the other hand, was ready to be at crease kill time and which does help in building partnerships. Both batted exceedingly well and partnership of 260 in 94 overs was not at a fast pace but was definitely the one that put England in a strong position. West Indies bowlers beat the batting number of times but could not make more inroads and dropped chances which prove costly (unlike the previous test where they were not at receiving end for same).

England lower order and tail wagged a bit to take them to 469/9 when Joe Root declared.WI batsman had their task cut out and back of mind they also were thinking of one or two 100+ partnerships to take them to a safer place. Day 2 ended with WI finishing at 29/1. Day 3 was totally washed out helping WI to think about escaping undefeated from the match.

Day 4 started contributions here and there & around tea time WI were placed at 242/4, not a bad position to be in. But after that point, Broad (who was howling to prove a point to selectors ) & co-started the collapse of WI batting by targeting stumps and bowling tight wicket to wicket lines.

West Indies lost 6/47 and there was still time for England to make some more runs or rather consolidate the position. The collapse of WI was almost identical to what England faced in the previous test. England then went out to score quick runs. They lost wickets more in trying to accelerate than good bowling by WI.

Stokes was magnificent with his effort helped by some weird field placements from Holder. England declared their 2nd essay on 129/3 in 19 overs to set WI target of 311 in 85 overs. From that point, one felt that WI won’t be able to save the test if English bowlers could make heavy inroads and it panned out exactly that way. Once Broad and Woakes combined to reduce WI to 29/4 there was no coming back for WI. With 15 overs remaining England dismissed the last WI player to win the match by 118 runs.

West Indies had only themselves to blame with 3-4 starts in first innings and no one making a three-figure score it was always going to be a case of being behind the 8 balls.

With series now squared at 1-1 and next test in 4 days, WI should bring their A-game to challenge England otherwise another England series victory looks ominous. Personally believe WI can beat England, whether they feel so that will be answered by next Tuesday evening.