Brathwaite and Holder lead strong Windies reply against England

By Sports Desk March 09, 2022

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite and former skipper Jason Holder put them in a strong position to claim a first-innings lead in the first Test with England.

After finally dislodging the determined Jonny Bairstow and bowling England out for 311 on day two, the Windies risked wasting a strong start to their first innings.

Brathwaite (55) and John Campbell (35) put on 83 for the first wicket but the Windies subsequently slumped to 127-4 as England made belated inroads.

Yet the tourists' attack was frustrated by Holder and Nkrumah Bonner, who reached stumps after a final session truncated by rain having put on an unbroken stand of 75 to push the Windies to 202-4, a deficit of 109 runs.

England added 43 runs to their overnight score, their feat of surpassing 300 one that has all been too rarely achieved by Joe Root's team in recent times.

Frequently frustrated as England's day-one resistance stiffened, fast bowler Jayden Seales ended Bairstow's partnership with Chris Woakes (28) at 71, and it was he and Alzarri Joseph who polished off the tail, the latter dismissing Bairstow for 140 to bring the innings to a close.

Brathwaite quickly set about laying the foundation for a strong Windies reply, his 50 coming off just 62 balls before he chased a wide one from Mark Wood and was caught at gully by Craig Overton, who earlier had Campbell caught behind.

Shamarh Brooks (18) and Jermaine Blackwood (11) each went cheaply, however, Bonner and the ex-captain left England searching for answers when stumps were forced to be called by the inclement weather, the defiant all-rounder Holder seven runs shy of a 12th Test half-century.

England back in 300 club

Thanks to Bairstow's outstanding performance, England got to 300 for the first time since their win over India at Headingley in August last year. It is a drought Root and Co. will be eager to put behind them by producing more assured performances with the bat in 2022.

Holder in ominous form

Two of Holder's three Test centuries have come against England. His ability to convert a start in this contest into another hundred may play a large role in deciding who prevails in Antigua.

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