Stuart Broad starred with bat and ball as England took control of the third and final Test against West Indies at the Old Trafford, Manchester on Saturday (July 25). The 34-year-old first slammed 62 off 45 deliveries before claiming two crucial wickets to push the visiting side on the back foot.
Earlier, Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel picked up four early wickets to put West Indies on top, but a fiery knock from Broad propelled England to a solid first-innings total of 369. In response, Broad along with other England seamers reduced West Indies to 137 for 6 in 47.1 overs, still trailing by 232 runs. Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich were unbeaten on 24 and 10 respectively before the stumps were drawn early due to bad light. The Caribbean side still need 32 runs to avoid the follow on.
The West Indies bowlers started Day 2 like the wind, with both Roach and Gabriel nipping out batsmen one after another in the first hour of the session. Resuming the day on 258 for 4, Ollie Pope was given a lifeline when Rahkeem Cornwall dropped a sitter at the first slip but the right-handed batsman couldn't capitalise on it as he was knocked over for his overnight score of 91 by Gabriel. The right-arm paceman got this one to swing in from just outside off and Pope was beaten comprehensively. Pope became only the fifth England batsman to be dismissed in the 90s without adding to his overnight score.
This wicket also ended the 140-run stand between Pope and Buttler. For Gabriel, it was his first wicket since the Southampton Test in which he was the man-of-the-match. In the second Test, he bowled 33 overs without a wicket. The ball was still new and both Gabriel and Roach were getting good movement.
Coming in at No. 7, Chris Woakes could not contribute either, edging an innocuous Roach delivery on to his stumps. With this wicket, Roach became the ninth West Indies bowler and the first since Curtly Ambrose in 1994 to take 200 Test wickets. The onus was now on Buttler to take England to a formidable first-innings total but the wicketkeeper-batsman could only add 11 runs to his overnight score as he edged one towards the slip cordon and Holder took a sharp low catch.
After Gabriel dismissed Buttler for 67, Roach got rid of Jofra Archer in the very next over in a similar fashion, pushing England further on the back foot. It looked like West Indies would wrap up England quickly but Broad walked in with a counter-attacking approach and took the attack to Holder and Co. The left-hander smashed Roach for a six over deep mid-wicket to get his innings going and then slammed Holder for seven fours in four overs.
The West Indies captain was either too short or too full and that allowed Broad to play his shots freely. The left-hander was aggressive with his approach and completed his fifty off just 33 deliveries, his first since 2017. This was also the joint third-fastest fifty for an England batsman in Test cricket. Broad smoked nine fours and a six in his innings and added crucial 76 runs with Dominic Bess for the ninth wicket. It was Chase who finally broke the partnership when he had Broad caught at deep mid-wicket.
During the partnership, Bess took the backseat and allowed Broad to dominate. He remained unbeaten on 18, while James Anderson also managed to score 11. For West Indies, Roach picked up four wickets, while Gabriel and Chase claimed two wickets each.
After contributing with the bat, Broad also gave England an early breakthrough by dismissing Kraigg Brathwaite for just 1. It was cloudy in Manchester, and Broad managed to get one to nip away from a good length and induced an outside edge off Brathwaite's willow. The surface was offering enough movement and both Anderson and Broad did what they have been going for years, making life extremely difficult for the West Indies top order.
John Campbell however looked in good touch and batted with a positive intent during his stay in the middle. The left-handed opener played a couple of eye-pleasing shots through the off-side, while Shai Hope looked quite tentative. England captain Joe Root introduced Jofra Archer into the attack and the right-arm paceman did the job for his team by sending Campbell back in the hut with a brute of a bouncer. Campbell reacted very late and ended up offering a simple catch to the fielder at the gully, after scoring 32.
Meanwhile, Hope (17) too couldn't turn his fortunes around and was undone by an Anderson special. To be fair to the batsman, it was peach of a delivery that angled in and then shaped away at the last moment, squaring up Hope and taking the outside edge. The West Indies batsmen didn't put any pressure on the England bowlers and allowed them to dictate terms. Shamarh Brooks (4) and Chase (9) too couldn't contribute much as the visiting side were reduced to 73 for 5.
West Indies couldn't form a single decent partnership as England pacers kept taking wickets at regular intervals. Root rotated his four frontline seamers quite efficiently and all four of them were brilliant throughout the day. Jermaine Blackwood managed 26 before he was knocked over by Woakes. Holder and Dowrich too didn't look comfortable but will try to make sure that they at least get those 32 runs to avoid the follow on.