England’s opening test match in the three match series against the West Indies in Antigua finished in a draw on Saturday. In the end the slow docile wicket proved the winner, despite England setting up a good declaration on the final day.
The visitors declared their second innings on 349 for 6, leaving West Indies a target of 286 in a minimum of 70 overs. Although England kept chipping away at the West Indies batting line up, the pitch got the better of both sides with the hosts holding on for a comfortable draw.
No Anderson or Broad
England went into the opening test without the experienced Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson. The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first. England were soon in trouble, being reduced to 48 for 4 with the top four back in the pavilion.
It was down to Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes to steady the ship with a fifth wicket stand of 67 before Stokes(36) was trapped lbw by Jayden Seales. Ben Foakes joined Bairstow in the middle with the pair adding 99 before Foakes(42) fell to Jason Holder.
Mr reliable Bairstow again to the rescue
Bairstow- who was England’s only centurion in their fateful campaign in the Ashes- went on to an unbeaten 109 by stumps, with England closing on 268 for 6.
On the second day England added a further 43 runs before Seales removed both Chris Woakes and Craig Overton in the space of three deliveries to leave England 311 all out with Bairstow making 140.
Good opening start from the hosts
The Windies openers Kragg Braithwaite and John Campbell put on 83 for the opening partnership before Campbell(35) edged Overton behind. Mark Wood snapped up the wicket of Braithwaite(55) and when Stokes had Shamarh brooks(18) caught in the slips, West Indies were reduced to 111 for 3.
At the close the hosts cl,osed on 202 for 4, thanks to an unbroken partnership of 75 for the fifth wicket with Holder on 43 and Nkrumah Bonner 34.
England hit back on day three
On the third day the West Indies lost Holder(45) early on off Stokes. However, Bonner and Da Silva put on 73 for the sixth wicket before Jack Leach trapped Da Silva(32) lbw. Three balls later Alzarri went for two. With only three overs of the day remaining, Jo Rooit turned to the occasional bowling of Essex,s Dan Lawrence.
It proved a pivotal decision with Bonner(123) caught down the leg side for a career best score, with the West Indies closing on 373 for 9 a lead of 62
England wrap up West Indies innings quickly
The hosts added just two runs after Leach removed Seales to leave West Indies 375 all out , a lead of 64.
England soon lost Alex Lees(6) lbw to Roach, but centuries from Zak Crawley 121 and Root(109) set up the England declaration.
Despite a fine long spell by Leach who ended up with 3 for 57, the West Indies held on for a draw as both sides head to Bridgetown for the second test starting on Wednesday afternoon.