Chase double keeps Windies on top against England in first Test

Southampton: Roston Chase proved a thorn in England’s side once again as West Indies strengthened their grip on the first Test at Southampton on Saturday.

England were 168-3 in their second innings at tea on the fourth day, just 54 runs ahead of West Indies’ first innings 318.

Chase had taken 2-45 in 19 overs, although both Rory Burns and Joe Denly donated their wickets to the off-spinner.

And in between their exits, Dom Sibley — bowled off a no-ball immediately after completing his half century — fell for exactly fifty when he was caught down the legside off Shannon Gabriel.

Zak Crawley was 38 not out, with England stand-in captain Ben Stokes yet to get off the mark.

All-rounder Stokes, leading the side in the absence of Joe Root, had top-scored with 43 in England’s lowly first-innings 204.

The paceman, second to West Indies captain Jason Holder in the ICC’s Test all-rounder rankings, then led from the front with the ball as well by taking 4-49.

England resumed Saturday on 15-0 in ideal sunny batting conditions on a placid pitch.

West Indies were without a frontline spinner after omitting Rahkeem Cornwall.

But they could call upon Chase, who although a batting all-rounder took a Test-best 8-60 when West Indies beat England at his Barbados home ground last year en route to a 2-1 series win.

And having already made 47 in this match, he removed well-set opener Burns for 42 when the left-hander saw a careless cut caught at backward point to end a first-wicket stand of 72.

Sibley pressed on to a painstaking fifty off 161 balls.

The very next delivery saw Sibley play on to Gabriel only for third umpire Michael Gough to rule the fast bowler had over-stepped.

It was a desperately close no-ball call but, two balls later, Sibley glanced fast bowler Gabriel to diving wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich and was out for exactly 50.

This was not the first time in his seven Tests Sibley had been caught down the legside, with England fast bowler Jofra Archer also dismissing him in similar fashion during an intra-squad warm-up match.

Denly, averaging under 30 in Test cricket and needing a big score to cement his place in the side, then undid all his hard work by tamely chipping Chase to Holder at short midwicket.

West Indies had dominated the first three days of a match that marks international cricket’s return from lockdown.

Holder took a Test-best 6-42 after losing the toss in the opening match of a behind closed doors series.

Kraigg Brathwaite then made 65, the opener’s first Test fifty in 22 innings, and Dowrich a valuable 61 as the tourists built a sizeable first-innings lead of 114.



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