The action continued on day 4 as both teams returned to play after an action-packed day 3 in Southampton. Since day 4 is considered an important day in a Test match, all eyes were on it. The saliva ban has affected both teams as they have been unable to generate reverse swing with the old ball.
Jason Holder was the only bowler, who could generate some movement as he picked up six wickets in the first innings. English openers Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley walked out to bat, putting up a 50 run partnership in the early hours of Day 4. The first breakthrough of the day was brought by off-spinner Roston Chase, by dismissing Burns post the drinks break.
The wicket of Burns invited Joe Denly to the crease who didn’t really have the best score in the first innings. Umpires then called lunch with England nicely poised at 79/1 in 40.0 overs. Denly and Sibley put up a 41 run partnership until the latter was dismissed by Shannon Gabriel. This wicket brought in Zack Crawley, in few overs time Denly was dismissed by Chase, chipping it to short mid.
With the West Indies seamers looking to attack the England batsmen further, captain Stokes joined Crawley in the middle. At tea England, who were reeling at 168 for three in 70.0 overs were looking to take the lead. Stokes and Crawley started off slowly but as soon their partnership neared the 100 run mark.
Both Stokes and Crawley were dismissed in 6 balls time. These two wickets put West Indies on the charge as Buttler was got out cheaply for just 9 runs. England with a lead of 162 runs stumbled to the pace of West indies seamers as the host’s last-recognised batsman Ollie Pope was dismissed by Gabriel. Dominic Bess too lost his wicket to Gabriel as the West Indian cleaned bowled him.
At 279/8 England dressing room looked very dull. It was called stumps on Day 4 with West Indies clearly on the charge. The English pacers will have a lot to do with a lead of just 170 runs on the board. On the flip side, looking at the current scenario, a draw is highly unlikely as Test cricket is back and we’re up for an exciting game as Day 5 as it will ultimately decide the winner of this game.
Brief Scores: England 204 & 284/8 (Zak Crawley 76, Dominic Sibley 50; Shannon Gabriel 3-62, Alzarri Joseph 2-40) lead West Indies 318 by 170 runs