|Third Investec Test, Lord’s, day one|
|West Indies 123: Powell 39, Stokes 6-22|
|England 46-4: Holder 2-18|
|England trail by 77 runs|
England bowled out West Indies for 123 but then struggled in reply as 14 wickets fell on a remarkable first day of the deciding Test at Lord’s.
Ben Stokes took a Test best 6-22 in a superb 14.3-over spell of swing bowling either side of tea, after the tourists opted to bat in overcast conditions.
Batting remained difficult under the lights, and West Indies struck three times in the first 13 overs.
They then claimed the key wicket of Joe Root as England closed on 46-4.
The series is perfectly poised at 1-1 after West Indies, who last won a series in England in 1988, chased down 322 to win by five wickets at Headingley.
In the first Lord’s Test match to start in September, both sets of bowlers utilised helpful conditions on a day when the highest individual score was Kieran Powell’s 39.
Despite their early dominance, it is by no means certain England will secure a seventh Wisden Trophy victory in the past nine series.
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England swing bowlers shine under lights
Buoyed by their first victory in England for 17 years, the Windies made the bold step of batting first, even though much of the day was played under floodlights and threatening skies.
They could have been a wicket down in the third over but Alastair Cook, who dropped two catches at slip on the final day at Headingley, spilled a routine chance in the cordon off James Anderson.
It cost only 14 runs, as Anderson – England’s record wicket-taker, needing three wickets to become his country’s first bowler to 500 in Tests – had Kraigg Brathwaite caught behind.
After a 40-minute rain delay, Anderson added the wicket of Kyle Hope, caught behind attempting to leave the ball, which rather encapsulated the form of a man who has made only three runs in his past three Test innings.
Hope’s brother Shai, a centurion in both innings at Headingley, looked in assured touch from the outset, hitting seven fours in his 29 during a partnership of 58 with Powell that left the Windies 78-2.
Cook held on to a sharp low chance at slip from the accurate Toby Roland-Jones to dismiss Hope, before Stokes took centre stage with a first five-wicket haul at Lord’s, leaving Anderson still needing one more for the milestone.
The all-rounder extracted some prodigious inswing to the right-handers, which, when combined with movement away off the pitch, proved too much for the West Indian batsmen to contend with.
Not all of the shots were of the highest order and Jermaine Blackwood, whose cameo 41 featuring three fours and two sixes at Headingley helped his team rapidly towards their target, will not want to see his wild swipe at Roland-Jones replayed any time soon.
Windies rally as England problems resurface
The England top order remains under scrutiny, however, and Durham opener Mark Stoneman will not have relished having to begin his innings under intensifying artificial light in the gloom of an early autumnal evening.
He was undone by some extra bounce from Kemar Roach, and even record England runscorer Cook could do nothing about one from the paceman that nipped off the seam and took his outside edge.
Tom Westley was trapped on the crease for his fifth successive single-figure Test score, offering the Windies hope of enough enough assistance for the bowlers to bring them back into contention.
Root opted for the positive approach, but his back-foot punch was smartly snaffled at first slip by Powell.
After his inspired fourth five-wicket haul with the ball, Stokes may not have expected to return to the crease again on day one, but he played another mature innings in partnership with Dawid Malan before the umpires decided the natural light had deteriorated too much to continue.
England will be hoping for a repeat of his century at Headingley – and rather less challenging weather conditions – if they are to establish a first-innings lead of significance.
‘It’s in the balance’ – what they said
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on BBC TMS: “It’s in the balance. As an ex-batsman, I thought it was tough. At times, techniques have been debatable, but we’ve seen some wonderful bowling.
“The Stokes spell was right out of the top drawer. He swung it late and at pace. West Indies, at times, looked they might get a score, then Stokes came in to it.”
England all-rounder Ben Stokes on TMS: “We’ve still got to score runs to try to get ahead of them but I think it is going to be one of those wickets where there is going to be periods of playing and missing and not being able to score too much.
“If we can get up to their score and 100 past we’ll fancy ourselves.”
Stat of the day
Ben Stokes is the eighth player, and sixth from England, to be on both the batting and bowling honours board at Lord’s.