England forced to settle for draw despite bold declaration in Antigua

England have been unable to conquer a flat pitch and a dedicated West Indies facet on the ultimate day in Antigua after Joe Root’s twenty fourth Test century and bold declaration gave his facet an opportunity.After organising an intriguing goal of 286 in 71 overs, England had their opponents 67 for 4 earlier than Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder shut up store.
With no methods in the observe and Mark Wood laid up in the therapy room, they held the fort for 239 deliveries earlier than shaking fingers on a draw.

The first Test is drawn.
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That was at all times the likeliest outcome on a floor that has held collectively stubbornly and sucked a few of the life out of this primary Test, however predictions of a desultory fifth day weren’t realised.
Much of that was down to Root, who reached 109 in the morning session to go second on the nation’s all-time listing of century-makers, pulling forward of Kevin Pietersen to sit behind earlier captain Sir Alastair Cook’s 33.

But it was his proactive management that did most to add some intrigue. The declaration was removed from cavalier – and a remaining rating of 147 for 4 suggests the West Indies by no means fancied the problem – however English captains, together with this one, have habitually erred on the conservative facet. Root has additionally been burned earlier than, watching the identical opponents chase down 322 after declaring at Headingley again in 2017.
It was, subsequently, refreshing and in conserving with the reboot of England’s Test crew to see a bit extra braveness from the person in cost.
The addition of Wood’s tempo and hostility could nicely have proved decisive however his proper elbow damage is extra severe than hoped and, after feeling “acute ache” in a delicate six-ball exercise in the nets, he was dominated out of motion. Similar information for the subsequent two video games in Barbados and Grenada could nicely comply with together with a call-up for Warwickshire’s Liam Norwell.

Mark Wood’s damage might finish his tour (Jason O’Brien/PA)There was a short interval both facet of tea when issues appeared to be constructing to a crescendo because the scoreboard slid from a steady 59 with out loss to a shaky 67 for 4. Ben Stokes, successfully filling in for Wood despite his personal precarious health points, trapped Kraigg Brathwaite (33) with a shin-high shooter earlier than Jack Leach conjured three fast breakthroughs.
John Campbell and Jermaine Blackwood each gave method to their worst instincts, hacking carelessly on the left-armer to reward their wickets, however a beautiful turning supply did for Shamarh Brooks as he toed a low catch to slip.
Having safely negotiated the primary 25 overs of their rearguard, one half-chance off Campbell’s vanguard however, it was a dreadful passage of play for the house facet.
Unfortunately for England, there was no scarcity of resolve from the fifth-wicket pair. Bonner, recent from an epic century in the primary innings, took 34 balls to get off the mark and reasserted his standing as a batter of actual substance.
Holder, in the meantime, added one other proud second to his assortment in this fixture as he minded the store for his facet at quantity six. He survived a giant lbw enchantment from Leach in the forty ninth over, with England’s fast huddle reluctantly selecting not to use their remaining assessment.

Jason Holder retains England at bay with a ahead defensive (Ricardo Mazalan/PA)The DRS know-how confirmed three reds, with ball-tracking exhibiting leg stump being taken out. Frustratingly, England had already used up two on much less persuasive appeals and went on to lose the third pursuing a caught-behind shout towards Holder.
There was one final choice to be made towards the all-rounder, an umpire’s assessment for bat-pad that went in the batter’s favour after inconclusive readings.
The day had began with England sitting fairly on 217 for one and with three clear choices on the desk: grind the house bowlers down and settle for the draw, play protected with the declaration or go early.
Crawley was gone for 121 earlier than the plan turned clear, including simply 4 to his in a single day rating earlier than being yorked by Holder, however Root quickly adopted him to three figures.
After safely changing his 84no he rigorously kissed a necklace, later revealed as a gift from his two kids in return for a promise to put on it on the crease.
Joe Root kisses a necklace given to him by his kids after reaching his century (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)The sprint for fast runs sped the sport up significantly, Root shedding his leg stump to Alzarri Joseph and Dan Lawrence carting Holder for six in a vigorous 37. By the time Stokes and Ben Foakes made hasty exits, England had misplaced 4 for 19 and the declaration was shut.
Victory was in the end an excessive amount of to hope for however ending because the aggressors was a welcome change of tone after the Ashes.


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