As England went home last night, captain Strauss was eyeing an innings victory. Kevin Pietersen was looking for a century and the West Indies, well, they really wanted to get the day past them and hope for a better day tomorrow (today). As it turned out, after chasing the leather on day two, the West Indians came back strongly today to make a match of it, only to hand over the advante to home team once again with a poor last session..
To start of day 3, England walked in at 259/2, more than a hundred behind the visiting West Indians. They had Andrew Strauss at hundred and Pietersen at 72. Ravi Rampaul started with a slightly wide line. Shane Shillingford managed to get some turn, but there was nothing to bother the Englishmen yet. With Pietersen on 80, Rampaul managed to rap him on the pads and the umpire gave it out. England went for a review and the umpire’s decision was upheld. A good wicket for the West Indies indeed. While Strauss is the danger man having scored a century, but Pietersen has the capability to literally murder a bowling attack and single-handedly take the game away. West Indies would definitely take a lot of heart from the fact that they have KP back in the pavilion.
Ian Bell came in after Pietersen. This is the man who was among the runs in both innings of the first test. England was expecting him to do the same here too. With the score at 290, Bell was dropped. Shillingford got an edge but was put down by Ramdin. With the score at 300, Roach trapped Bell in front of the stumps. The Umpire refused, but the Windies opted for a review and got Bell. Jonny Bairstow walked in and was welcomed with some real short pitch stuff from Roach. Today would have been a good chance for Bairstow to announce his arrival in test match cricket, but he didn’t take it up. He gifted a simple catch to Chanderpaul of Roach’s bowling with England’s score at 308. Prior walked in next and didn’t last too long. He played a terrible shot to Darren Sammy and was bowled. Tim Bresnan offered some decent resistance and played well with the skipper. Post lunch, Sammy rapped Bresnan on the pads but was turned down by the umpire. Sammy went upstairs and the third eye agreed with the unpire’s decision. At 363, Strauss fell after a well made 141. It was slow and a bit too defensive, but no denying that Strauss is back in form. Strauss slashed one straight to Ramdin of Sammy.
Broad and Bresnan solidified the innings a bit with a good fifty run partnership. Framkly speaking, the West Indian bowlers hardly seemed to trouble either of them. There was a stinker from Roach that hit Bresnan on his arm, but nothing too threatening really. There was a comedy of errors in between though, with Sammy throwing a ball that hit Ramdin’s helmet and carrying past the boundary! At 416, Broad tried to paddle-sweep Shillingford, but landed an easy catch to Sammy. Swann and Anderson didn’t last too long either and eventually the English innings wrapped up at 428.
West Indies started their second innings but in a very poor fashion. Kieran Powell was bowled by James Anderson when he played at a delivery outside off stump. An inside edge pushed the ball on the leg stump. Adrian Barath played back to a beauty from James Anderson that nipped back. Barath hopped a bit but was adjudged out by the umpire, and rightly so. Chanderpaul walked in at number four with an attempt to silence his critics. With the score on 30, Chanderpaul fell. The man West Indies were desperately hoping to help the team recover fell after trying to pull a delivery by Staurt Broad. It was a bouncer from Broad. Chanderpaul was kind of uncharacteristic in pulling such a delivery and was caught by Broad. At 45, Tim Bresnan came round the wicket and hit Bravo on the pads. England jumped up and Bravo was given out. He opted for a review and the third umpire gave it out. With the score at 61, England got a double blow. Tim Bresnan trapped Ramdin on the backfoot. Out leg before. Fidel Edwards walked in and met the same fate, trapped leg before again by Bresnan.
At stumps, West Indies walked back at 61/6. Their backs clearly against the wall, the Windies have to hope for a miracle tomorrow. England are clearly on top. They have two full days to bowl the West Indies out and make the winning runs. Tragically one can sense it that this match will really be a walkover for England.