England were closing in on victory on the fourth evening of the third Test against the West Indies, who reached tea on 136 for six in pursuit of a notional 485.
Joe Root declared the tourists’ second innings on 361 for five as soon as he was dismissed for 122 – he and Ben Stokes (48no) having added 36 to the total in under half-an-hour.
James Anderson reduced the West Indies to 10 for three with the new ball but Roston Chase’s unbeaten 53 kept his side fighting at tea.
Root’s wicket had earlier been claimed by Shannon Gabriel, the pace bowler whose inaudible comments on day three led the England captain to say “don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay”. Gabriel was booed by sections of the England fans but formal disciplinary action has yet to be taken, with no indication of what he said to earn an on-field rebuke from the umpires as well as Root’s response.
Once the declaration was in, a well rested James Anderson had the chance to test the resolve of a batting side facing mountainous odds. Test cricket’s most prolific seamer had taken five wickets in the first innings of the series but only two more in his next 57 overs.
Anyone looking for an early sign of his appetite for more found it in the first ball of the chase, which sailed through the vacant fourth slip via a waft of Kraigg Brathwaite’s bat. The 36-year-old’s frustration was only fleeting, with John Campbell next to succumb just two balls later.
It still took a sensational catch to complete the dismissal, Moeen Ali leaping one handed in the gully in what must have been a contender for his career-best effort. Brathwaite’s second life lasted little more than an over before he prodded at an Anderson delivery that held its line and Ben Stokes held on after a juggle.
Anderson was beating the bat on at will and soon lined up Darren Bravo, batting despite the finger injury which kept him off the field during day three. He banked an 11-ball duck, feeling for one that slanted across him and feeding Root at head height.
Stuart Broad did not enjoy the same support from the cordon, missing out on Shai Hope for nought when Jos Buttler put down his third regulation chance in two games. That took his tally to 10 since his Test recall last summer and he was later relocated by Root.
England’s first-innings hero Mark Wood entered the fray in the 12th over and although he could not recreate the 94mph rockets that lit up Sunday’s play, he still had enough pace to pick off Hope. Forced back in the crease by a hostile line and length, Hope fended cautiously and looped the ball gently to Broad at point.
The Windies limped to lunch on 35 for four, still the small matter of 450 short. It looked a perfect recipe for collapse but Roston Chase and Shimron Hetmyer showed enough resilience to put on 45 in 96 balls before a mis-judged run sent the latter packing.
Chase had already picked up two from a Wood full toss when the pair took on Joe Denly’s arm and left Hetymer well short of his ground as Jonny Bairstow took the stumps.