BREAKING NEWS

Nkrumah Bonner, Jason Holder keep West Indies in contention with England

An unbeaten fifth-wicket partnership of 75 runs between Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder helped West Indies recover from a mini collapse and advanced to 202 for four on the second day of the first Test against England on Wednesday.

West Indies will resume 109 runs behind and with six wickets in hand in reply to England's first innings total of 311 on the second day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

England's reshuffled bowling attack served up a mixed bag on a tricky day in Antigua, after Jonny Bairstow and co. added 43 to the overnight score to post 311 in the first innings - more than England had managed in any of the five Ashes Tests in their defeat to Australia.

A wayward start with the ball from England's new opening pair of Chris Woakes and Craig Overton helped the West Indies openers build a stand of 83 from just 19.3 overs as the reply got off to a rapid start.

Mark Wood, Ben Stokes and Jack Leach bowled tidily, and four quick wickets in the afternoon session threatened to swing the momentum back in England's favour.

But a stand of 75 after Tea between Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder helped West Indies to 202/4 by the close, 109 runs behind against a bowling attack who failed to immediately justify England's unorthodox selection policy for the Caribbean tour.

England had resumed on 268/6 and picked up where they'd left off on the first evening, with Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes looking largely untroubled early on.

However, the prospect of a giant first-innings score evaporated when Jayden Seales came on in the fifth over of the morning and snaffled the scalps of Woakes for 28 and Craig Overton for a two-ball duck.

And with the West Indies amongst the England tail, Bairstow opened up, farming the strike and taking his team's score beyond 300 for the first time in Tests since the win over India in Leeds back in August.

Alzarri Joseph rescued his figures after a tricky outing by taking the final two wickets, luring Mark Wood into a wild swing that looped to point and having Bairstow caught off a top edge.

And Bairstow left the field to warm applause from the Antigua crowd, out for 140 from 259 balls. Much of the talk surrounding England prior to the start of the series focused on the decision to leave James Anderson and Stuart Broad out of the squad as part of a Test 'reset'.

But the rejigged England attack struggled badly early on with the new ball, as runs flowed at a brisk rate, with the usually reserved Kraigg Brathwaite scoring at a run a ball to steer his side to 44 without loss at lunch.

Opening bowler Chris Woakes was particularly wayward, leaking 23 runs off his first three overs of the innings, with Craig Overton offering little more control, although Mark Wood did hit high pace early, with his third delivery clocked at 149kmh.
The runs continued to flow after the lunch interval until Overton fortuitously dismissed John Campbell, strangled down the leg side.

And fellow opener Brathwaite was next to go for an uncharacteristically rapid 55 from 70 balls, expertly pouched at gully by Overton off a quick and wide delivery from Wood.
England continued to leak runs, but the introduction of Ben Stokes helped stem the tide, as the allrounder and Wood introduced some much-needed control to proceedings. And Stokes picked up the wicket that his spell merited, drawing an edge from Shamarh Brook to send him back for 18.

And the gloss was further taken off West Indies' fast start when Jermaine Blackwood was caught at gully off the thigh pad via an inside-edge, giving Woakes a morale-boosting wicket with what turned out to be the final ball of the session thanks to a short rain delay.

Blackwood's departure meant West Indies had lost four wickets for 44 runs having been 83 without loss, leaving England well-placed with the score at 127/4 at Tea.
England's hopes of gaining a sizeable first-innings lead slipped away during a frustrating final session for the visitors, with the soft ball making the bowling attack even less threatening.

A couple of further short rain breaks did little other than put moisture into the pitch and ball, removing the hint of reverse swing, and West Indies rebuilt after their pre-Tea collapse.

Bonner with 34 ( not out) from 103 balls and Holder's 43 (not out) from 104 balls helped the home side beyond 200 before another rain shower brought an end to the day's play, with England still 13 overs away from the new ball.

The wickets were shared one apiece between the seamers, with Wood (1/24) and Stokes (1/20) impressing along with the tidy Jack Leach, who conceded less than two-an-over through the day.

But Woakes 1/54 from 12 and Overton 1/58 from 16 will be looking for significant improvements on the third day with the match finely poised approaching the midway point.

Brief scores: England 311 all out in 100.3 overs (Jonny Bairstow 140, Ben Stokes 36, Ben Foakes 42, Chris Woakes 28; Jayden Seale 4/79, Kemar Roach 2/86, Jason Holder 2/24, Alzarri Joseph 2/70) vs West Indies 202/4 in 66.5 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite 55, John Campbell 35, Nkrumah Bonner 34 not out, Jason Holder not out 43; Chris Woakes 1/54, Craig Overton 1/58, trail by 109 runs.

Photo Gallery