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25th August 2017 Comments Off on Gabriel and Roach expose England’s vulnerable top order Views: 1230 News

Gabriel and Roach expose England’s vulnerable top order

England 61 for 3 (Root 24*, Malan 3*) v West Indies
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

West Indies roused themselves from their Edgbaston torpor with an impressive start to the second Investec Test at Headingley, ensuring the debate around England’s top order would not die down as they lurched to lunch on 61 for 3.

Kemar Roach removed the inexperienced pair of Mark Stoneman and Tom Westley while the recalled Shannon Gabriel claimed the key scalp of Alastair Cook for 232 fewer runs than he managed last week. The England three-down-for-less-than-fifty stats were being dug out again (although they should really be bookmarked) before Joe Root, who was dropped on 8, and Dawid Malan nursed the innings to the interval.

Root had no hesitation in batting first – not tempted by the school of thought that it would be worth having an early dart at a side that lost 19 wickets on their previous day of Test cricket – and with the sun out and a straw-coloured surface it was an understandable decision for him in his first match as captain on home soil.

By lunch, however, things had not gone to plan although Root had enjoyed a massive dose of fortune when Kieran Powell dropped a dolly of a catch a first slip when he edged Gabriel. The chance carried almost in slow-motion, and Root was already turning to walk off, when it somehow burst out of Powell’s hands.

The magnitude of that moment won’t be fully realised until the match progresses, but it would have given West Indies a firm grip on proceedings. Still, barring that mistake it was an encouraging display from the visitors which was built on the new-ball displays from Gabriel and Roach.

Gabriel provided the pace that West Indies lacked at Edgbaston, and importantly married it with direction, while Roach gained rewards from pitching the ball full. After a quiet opening half an hour, it was Gabriel who made the first mark when he found Cook’s outside edge and Kyle Hope took a sharp, low catch at third slip.

It meant two of England’s new recruits, Stoneman and Westley, joined forces in the middle – but not for long. Westley is quickly finding out how a technique that has served you well at county level can be unpicked in the Test game and for the second time in two innings was lbw missing a full, straight delivery.

Stoneman received the best ball West Indies bowled at Edgbaston but here was more culpable in his demise. He had looked solid during much of his stay, lining the ball up well from over and round the wicket, but was lured into a drive at Roach and got an inside-edge to Shane Dowrich. England were 37 for 3 shortly after the hour mark with West Indies offering very few moments of release, except for Powell’s blunder.

Key to a re-jigged West Indies attack – which included legspinner Devendra Bishoo at the expense of a quick bowler – was the role of captain Jason Holder who was insipid at Edgbaston. As first-change he had to support his new-ball pair and this time he located a nagging line and length which kept the pressure on England; just seven boundaries came in the session, two of those by Root off Roston Chase’s offspin which was brought on ahead of Bishoo.

England 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Mark Stoneman, 3 Tom Westley, 4 Joe Root (capt), 5 Dawid Malan, 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 8 Moeen Ali, 9 Chris Woakes, 10 Stuart Broad 11 James Anderson

West Indies 1 Kraigg Brathwaite, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Kyle Hope, 4 Shai Hope, 5 Roston Chase, 6 Jermaine Blackwood, 7 Shane Dowrich (wk), 8 Jason Holder (capt), 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Devendra Bishoo, 11 Shannon Gabriel

Taken from ESPN Cricinfo

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