Gabriel, Holder rock England in first West Indies Test

By: AFP      Published: 05:03 PM, 9 Jul, 2020
Gabriel, Holder rock England in first West Indies Test
West Indies' Shannon Gabriel (C) celebrates with team-mates after taking the wicket of England's Rory Burns on the second day of the first Test between England and the West Indies at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. AFP

West Indies fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder had England reeling at 106 for 5 on the second day of the first Test at Southampton on Thursday.

At lunch, stand-in captain Ben Stokes, who won the toss and chose to bat, was 21 not out and Jos Buttler, the last of their recognised batsmen, unbeaten on nine. They would have been in an even worse position had Stokes not been dropped by a diving Kemar Roach at long leg when he was on 14 following a miscued hook off Alzarri Joseph.

England resumed on 35-1 after a rain-marred first day more memorable for the sight of players taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign and the West Indies' rekindling the powerful imagery of clenched fists in black gloves.

Rory Burns was 20 not out and Joe Denly 14 not out, with the continued overcast conditions under the floodlights at Hampshire's headquarters again making life difficult for the batsmen. England were soon 51-3 as Gabriel removed Denly and Burns in a spell of two wickets for two runs in nine balls.

With regular England skipper and top-order mainstay Joe Root expected to return for the second Test after missing this match to attend the birth of his second child, Denly was under pressure to make a big score to keep him in the side. But Denly, averaging a modest 30 from 14 previous Tests, had added just four runs to his overnight score when he was bowled by a 90mph nip-backer from Gabriel to leave him flat-footed on the crease.

Left-hander Burns followed soon afterwards, leg before wicket on review for 30 after going across his crease. Gabriel, who removed opener Dom Sibley for a duck on Wednesday, had lunch figures of 3-38 from 10 overs.

West Indies captain Holder, the leading Test all-rounder in the ICC rankings ahead of Stokes, then got in on the act. The towering quick bowled several deliveries to Zak Crawley that moved away before cleverly having him lbw on review with one that came back.

Ollie Pope was caught behind off an excellent Holder leg-cutter as the West Indies' joyful shouts echoed round the empty stands. West Indies have not won a Test series in England since 1988 but they hold the Wisden Trophy after a 2-1 success in the Caribbean last year.

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