Dowrich keeps Windies on top despite Stokes’ four wickets

Southampton, United Kingdom: Shane Dowrich steered the West Indies into a commanding lead over England on the third day of the first Test at Southampton on Friday.

Dowrich made 61 after opener Kraigg Brathwaite had top-scored with 65 in a total of 318 all out.

Stand-in captain Ben Stokes led England’s attack with 4-49 to follow his top score of 43 in the hosts’ 204.

But that left West Indies 114 runs ahead on first innings in a match that marks international cricket’s return from lockdown.

And they were still 99 runs in front after openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley survived a tricky 10 overs to take England to 15-0 in their second innings at stumps.

Stokes’ haul included the wicket of West Indies captain Jason Holder for just five, with the England talisman having fallen to his rival all-rounder during the towering seamer’s Test-best 6-42 on Thursday.

And when Stokes bowled tailender Alzarri Joseph, he had his 150th Test wicket.

But wicketkeeper Dowrich held firm with a fine fifty until a 115-ball innings featuring eight boundaries ended when he was caught down the legside by opposing gloveman Jos Buttler off Stokes.

It was not the first time Dowrich had proved a thorn in England’s side.

Last year he made 116 and shared a huge stand of 295 with Holder when his fellow Bajan made an unbeaten 202 during the West Indies’ 381-run win over England in the first Test at their Kensington Oval home ground.

That victory helped West Indies regain the Wisden Trophy but it is 32 years since they last won a Test series in England.

Archer and Wood struggle

England dropped veteran paceman Stuart Broad for this current match to play express quicks Jofra Archer and Mark Wood together for the first time in a Test.

But Archer and Wood struggled to make an impression on a placid pitch. 

They took just one wicket between them in a combined 44 overs — and that was only when Wood bowled last man Shannon Gabriel to end the innings.

West Indies resumed behind closed doors on 57-1, with the first sunny blue skies of the match providing ideal conditions for batting.

Barbados-born Archer nearly had Shai Hope lbw for 16 but a West Indies review revealed a no-ball.

Hope, however, was still on 16 when he edged off-spinner Dom Bess to first slip where Stokes, captaining England in the absence of Joe Root, held a sharp catch.

It was an encouraging moment for Stokes, who could have been forgiven for second-guessing himself after deciding to bat first on winning the toss.

But, as he has so often done before, Stokes made a vital breakthrough when he trapped Brathwaite in front of the stumps.

Shamarh Brooks made a promising 39 before he was caught behind off James Anderson, with England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker returning figures of 3-62.

Jermaine Blackwood gave his wicket away by driving Bess (2-51) straight to Anderson at mid-off.

Dowrich, however, drove Bess for two fours in three balls before, on 25, he hammered a drive the Somerset bowler could only parry.

Roston Chase drove the first delivery with the new ball, from Wood, for four before he was lbw to Anderson for a defiant 47 off 142 balls.

Following his bowling heroics on Thursday, Holder said he wanted to score a Test hundred in England as well.

But he fell in single figures when, undone by a surprise bouncer, he hooked Stokes straight to Archer at long leg.

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