England on Saturday faced a spectacular batting collapse in the second innings of the first Test match against West Indies. The hosts were leading West Indies by 170 runs with two wickets remaining at the end of the fourth day’s play in Southampton.
England were cruising comfortably with 249-3 before its collapse was triggered by reckless batting, reducing the side to 279-8. No sooner did stand-in skipper Ben Stokes depart for 46, established batsman Zak Crawley (76) too followed, throwing his wicket to Alzarri Joseph, who made no mistake in catching the ball in his follow-through. Jos Buttler was next to go by scoring just nine runs followed by Dom Bess, who too did not bother the scorer by scoring just three. Oli Pope was the last wicket to fall for England on Saturday.
For West Indies, Shannon Gabriel was the pick of the bowlers as he finished 3-62. Roston Chase and Joseph shared two wickets apiece while the remaining wicket went to skipper Jason Holder, the hero of the first innings for West Indies.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan told the BBC, “I wouldn’t want to chase over 200 on this wicket. I think 171 will be difficult with England’s bowling. If one player gets you 60 or 70 though, West Indies should win the Test match.”
West Indian all-rounder in the ODI squad, Carlos Brathwaite, said, “West Indies have their noses in front. They will sleep sweeter tonight than the England team would. I think 200 seems to be the target. Any less than that, West Indies will be happy. If not, England will feel like they have a chance. It’s just going to be a riveting last day of Test cricket.”
England were bowled out for 204 in the first innings, trailing West Indies by 114 runs. The English side improved its performance in the second innings, but its batting collapse appears to have given an advantage to West Indies in the current Test match.