There had been one present as Jonny Bairstow took a single off the first ball of the afternoon’s play.
London: Ben Stokes followed his Test-best bowling figures with a rapid fifty as England gained a first-innings lead of 71 runs against West Indies in their series decider at Lord’s on Friday.
England, at tea on a rain-marred second day, had been bowled out for 194 in reply to West Indies’ first innings 123 to leave the match finely balanced with this three-Test series all square at 1-1. Kemar Roach took 5/72, with West Indies captain and fellow seamer Jason Holder following up with 4/54.
James Anderson, unbeaten on eight after Stuart Broad was last man out for a valuable 38, spent the 20-minute tea break knowing he was just one away from becoming the first Englishman to take 500 Test wickets. Left-handed batsman Stokes made 60, his fifty coming off just 51 balls, including 10 fours. That followed the Durham all-rounder’s 6/22 on Thursday.
But it might have been a very different story when, just two balls into the second session after a rain delay, Stokes, on 24, edged Shannon Gabriel only for Kraigg Brathwaite to drop a tough chance as he dived far to his left at second slip.
Brathwaite had to go for the catch as, despite the overcast conditions continuing to make life tough for the batsmen, there was no third slip. There had been one present as Jonny Bairstow took a single off the first ball of the afternoon’s play.
The delivery after the drop saw Holder reinforce his slip cordon. As if to underline the error, Stokes celebrated his reprieve by driving that very next ball from Gabriel down the ground for four. Bairstow found runs rather harder to come by and, after repeatedly playing amd missing at Roach, was lbw to the fast bowler for 21 to end a stand of 56.