Journal De Bruxelles - Assured Root puts England in strong position against West Indies

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Assured Root puts England in strong position against West Indies
Assured Root puts England in strong position against West Indies

Assured Root puts England in strong position against West Indies

West Indies missed another opportunity to remove Joe Root and the England captain took advantage of the second reprieve in guiding his team to 136 for two at tea on the opening day of the second Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Wednesday.

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Opting to bat first after winning the toss, as he did in the drawn first Test a week earlier in Antigua, Root resumes on 80 in the final session in partnership with Dan Lawrence (26 not out).

Their 56-run third-wicket stand so far has accelerated the pedestrian scoring to the extent of almost doubling the run production from the pre-lunch period.

Let off in the morning after the home side opted not to challenge an unsuccessful appeal for a wicketkeeper's catch off Jason Holder, there was more anguish for the West Indies at the start of the afternoon session when Root, on 34, was dropped down the leg-side by Joshua da Silva off Kemar Roach.

West Indies did make one breakthrough in the second passage of play when opener Alex Lees' painstaking innings of 30 was ended via a leg-before decision off Veerasammy Permaul, the left-spinner taking his first wicket of the series in the first over of a new spell.

Mindful of a double-failure in his debut Test last week, the left-hander played with exaggerated care through his three hours at the crease, facing 138 deliveries and finding the boundary on only three occasions.

Set back by the loss of Zak Crawley to Jayden Seales in the fourth over of the day, Lees found a reassuring partner in Root as the Caribbean pacers strove hard for more success on a docile surface, reminiscent of the placid pitch both sides toiled on in Antigua.

- Root reprieved -

Root, who compiled a polished 24th Test century in the second innings of that match, would have departed on 23 before lunch had West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite sought a review, as television replays suggested that Root had edged the ball from Holder through to Da Silva.

In front of a near full house of mainly England supporters, there was home celebration with the demise of Crawley.

Fresh from a second-innings century in the first Test which engineered his team's revival and set the stage for a push for victory on the final day, the tall right-hander fell without scoring to a perfectly-pitched delivery from Seales for Da Silva to take the catch low down to his right.

West Indies retained the same XI from the first Test but England were forced into two changes due to a growing injury and illness list among their fast bowling stocks.

Saqib Mahmood, who played in the five-match T20 international series at the same venue in January, was already earmarked for a debut in place of Mark Wood, the tearaway pacer who sustained a painful right elbow injury during the opening encounter.

Joining him for a debut Test was Matthew Fisher, who only learnt of his inclusion in the final team this morning when fast-medium bowler Craig Overton fell ill overnight and was ruled out of consideration.

England were hoping to have Ollie Robinson return to the team but he has not sufficiently recovered from back spasms sustained in the lone warm-up match two weeks ago in Antigua.