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Mark Wood fueled England's fire on the second day of the third and final Wisden Cricket Test against the Windies and has left his team in charge after two days play at the Darren Sammy International Stadium in Gros Islet, St Lucia, yesterday.
With the Windies already winning the series by taking the first two Test matches in Barbados and Antigua, England showed it's intent on not being on the receiving end of a whitewash at the hands of the Caribbean team.
After losing their last six wickets in the morning session for the addition of just 46 runs, England was up against it in the afternoon session, as the Windies responded by reaching 57 without loss. Add Wood to the equation and at the end of the day, England was 142 runs to the good with all 10 wickets standing.
The Durham pacer clocking consistently in the 90km per hour range, troubled the Windies middle order and finished with figures of 5/41. He was ably assisted by Moeen Ali who failed with the bat earlier in the day but made amends with 4/36 as the Windies fell for 154 in the final session. England then negotiated 10 overs of pace towards the end of the day to remain 19 without loss. A total of 16 wickets fell on the day as the fast bowlers continued to rule.
Windies started off nicely with opener John Campbell playing some attractive shots much to the delight of the local fans who finally started to make their presence felt at the venue. Skipper Brathwaite supported well, while the Jamaican took the attack to the visitors. The two recorded their fourth half-century stand of the series until an out of character shot by Brathwaite led to a collapse.
Brathwaite chipped down the track to an innocuous off-spinner from Moeen Ali and swatted it into the hands of a running Jimmy Anderson at wide long on for 12. Next ball, Campbell played around a straight delivery to fall leg before. He made 41 off 63 balls with three fours and a six.
England skipper Joe Root then threw the ball to Mark Wood and at the end of his first over of the series, the Windies were limping at 59 for four. He had Shai Hope driving uppishly to gully for one and next ball, Roston Chase guided to the same Rory Burns for a 'duck'. Wood was really on fire as one of his deliveries was timed at 95 miles per hour. His next over was also brilliant, as he had Shimron Hetmyer dropped at slip as he was giving back to the Windies, what their fast bowlers dished out to the English.
Nevertheless, Hetmyer would leave soon after caught at first slip by Root. Wood was not finished and followed up with the prized scalp of Darren Bravo caught behind on receiving a ripper of a delivery. The left-hander had no time to negotiate the fast swinging ball and it peeled off the edge of his bat on its way to Bairstow.
Windies wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich led a mini-recovery but left via Stuart Broad for 29, as the Windies folded meekly.
England resumed on the overnight position and with no complaints of bed bugs, the roach bit into them as they spectacularly crumbled on a brilliant Sunday morning in the Helen of the West.
While there were still people lining up to get their bake and saltfish Shannon Gabriel started the destruction. Jos Buttler was bowled by a very quick delivery. The red missile rushed past him even before he could have felt the beautiful sea breeze. Buttler who had batted very well on day one was out of the way for 67 made off 127 balls with nine fours.
England had lost a wicket with only one run added to their overnight 231/4. Gabriel ended a partnership of 124 for the fifth wicket between Buttler and Ben Stokes.
It was at this point that Roach awoke from his first-day slumber to rip apart the lower order. He sent back Stokes courtesy a brilliant running and diving catch by keeper Dowrich. He surprised Stokes with a quick short delivery which left-hander top-edged to square leg and Dowrich ran and ran and then as his hopes were fading dived full stretch to make the catch. Stokes left the field for 79 off 175 balls with eight fours. At this point, the local crowd came alive and was singing 'Sweet Caroline'.
Ali was still there and looking to carry the fight with the lower order but it was not to be, as the pint-sized left-hander edged Alzari Joseph to Bravo at slip for 13.
After that, Roach closed off the innings, as England lost their last six wickets for the addition of 46 runs. Roach ended with 4/43 taking his tally to 17 for the series.
ENGLAND 277 all out in 101.5 overs (Ben Stokes 79, Jos Buttler 67, Rory Burns 29; Kemar Roach 4-48, Shannon Gabriel 2-49, Keemo Paul 2-58, Alzarri Joseph 2-61) and 19-0.
WEST INDIES 154 all out in 47.2 overs (John Campbell 41, Shane Dowrich 38; Mark Wood 5-41, Moeen Ali 4-36).