James Anderson struck three times with the new ball as England closed in on victory in the third Test against the West Indies.
England batted for just under half an hour on the fourth morning in St Lucia, captain Joe Root declaring with a lead of 484 immediately after he was dismissed for 122. The Windies took lunch at 31 for four, unable to recreate the brilliance that put them 2-0 up in the series.
Root fell off the bowling of Shannon Gabriel, following an exchange between the pair on day three. Stump microphones picked up the England captain telling the Trinidadian paceman “don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay” but Gabriel’s part of the conversation was not audible.
It is not yet clear if any disciplinary charge will be laid against the bowler, but he was booed by a section of the England fans when he came on to bowl.
Anderson was on inspired form with the new ball, seeing off three of the top four in his opening burst. The first ball of the innings was wafted through the vacant fourth slip region by Kraigg Brathwaite but John Campbell had no such luck two deliveries later, Moeen Ali taking off to take a sensational one-handed catch in the gully.
Brathwaite’s second life did not last long, prodding at a delivery that held its line and offering a low catch that was awkwardly held by Ben Stokes in the cordon. Stuart Broad should have joined the fun when he bested Shai Hope on nought but Jos Buttler, as he did twice in Antigua, downed a regulation chance.
Darren Bravo batted despite the finger injury which kept him off the field on day three but banked an 11-ball duck, feeling for contact as Anderson slanted one across him and offering Root a head-height catch.
England’s first-innings hero Mark Wood entered the fray in the 12th over and used his pace to pick off Hope. Having successfully forced the number three back in the crease he dug one in short, with Hope fending cautiously and looping the ball to Broad at point.