Da Silva (100 not out) and Mayers (5-9) put West Indies on verge of triumph
Apex Test Series
Day 3 of 3rd Test
Venue: National Cricket Stadium, St George’s, Grenada
Toss: West Indies won toss and bowled
A monumental Test century by Joshua Da Silva was fantastic five-wicket haul by Kyle Mayers capped off an amazing third day’s play on Saturday and has put the West Indies on the verge of a historic win. Da Silva’s hundred helped West Indies post 297 in the first innings, with the wicketkeeper farming the strike throughout the morning session especially during a 52-run last wicket stand with Jayden Seales before reaching his ton just before lunch.
Mayers then produced a stellar bowling effort as England collapsed to 103-8, leaving them tottering in front of colourful and vocal home crowd which cheered their team’s every performance, among the nation’s Prime Minster Dr Keith Mitchell.
West Indies had resumed with a lead of 28 on the third morning, but lost Kemar Roach (25) early caught down the legside. Seales joined Da Silva and together the pair batted until the stroke lunch was Seales was last man out. The morning belonged to the determined Da Silva who registered his maiden Test hundred.
He drove left-arm spinner Jack Leach to the cover boundary and then slog-swept for another four in the same over to move to 90, before marching to his hundred in style, two overs later. Da Silva guided seamer Craig Overton behind point for a two, drilled the next delivery to the cover boundary before slapping the following ball for a straight four to reach three figures.
A visibly emotional Da Silva broke down in tears as he celebrated the milestone, his first ton in his 14th Test appearance for the West Indies beating his previous best of 92 in the historic series win Bangladesh in January, 2021.
Da Silva’s brilliance meant that the last four West Indies wickets had contributed 202 runs to the total of 297, putting the hosts into an advantageous position in the match having looked vulnerable at 95-6 on Friday evening. Overall he batted for just under six hours, faced 257 balls and hit 10 boundaries. It was the 11th time a West Indies Number 8 batsman score a Test century – the lest occasion was Jason Holder 202 not out against England in Barbados in 2019.
Starting their second innings after lunch, England lost Zak Crawley for eight in the fourth over, edging Seales to Jason Holder at second slip with 14 runs on the board, before the impressive Mayers unveiled his magic in a maiden Test five-wicket haul.
He claimed the prized wicket of captain Joe Root with only his third ball for the second time in the game, caught head high at first slip by John Campbell for five, 45 minutes after lunch and was in action again in his next over, Dan Lawrence shouldering arms to one that nipped back to hit the outside off-stump to depart without scoring.
With tea approaching, Mayers grabbed another key wicket when left-hander Ben Stokes attempted to leave alone but touched a catch behind to stand-in keeper Shamarh Brooks, who replaced the injured Da Silva for the last five overs before the interval.
Tottering on 43-4 at the break, England didn’t do much better despite Alex Lees and Jonny Bairstow adding 41 for the fifth over, to keep West Indies without success in the first hour. Alzarri Joseph got the breakthrough in the third over after drinks, Bairstow played a cross-batted shot and edged behind to a gleeful Da Silva.
In the same over, Ben Foakes (2) found himself short at the striker’s end hunting a second run – beaten by Mayers’s bluet-like return to from deep backward square to the alert Da Silva. Lees’s near 3-¾ hour vigil ended when he lost his off-stump to one from Mayers which kept low. Mayers then wrapped up his five-wicket haul when Holder held a thick edge from Overton (1) on the third attempt at third slip in the fourth over before the close.
After the day’s play, Da Silva said: “Hopefully we can wrap up the innings as quickly as possible and not let it slip away like we did in the first innings. We’ve definitely got to keep the pressure on and not let it slip away. That’s most important. Just get the wickets and get the runs down as quickly as possible but work hard at the same time and stay patient.”
Play on the fourth day will resume on Sunday at 10am (9am Jamaica).