England undone by Holder heroics, Windies begin battle with the bat cautiously

By Sports Desk July 09, 2020

Jason Holder led by example with the ball as West Indies seized control of the first Test against England in Southampton.

The Windies captain returned career-best figures of 6-42 while Shannon Gabriel weighed in with 4-62 as the tourists' quicks dismissed England for 204 under gloomy skies before tea on the second day.

Ben Stokes, captaining England for the first time in Joe Root's absence, top-scored with 43 but was one of half a dozen Holder victims as the giant seamer continued his fine form in Tests.

England could only remove John Campbell (28) before bad light stopped play, with West Indies 57-1, 147 runs behind.

Wet weather meant just 17.4 overs were possible on the first day of Test cricket following the worldwide coronavirus-enforced break, and England resumed on 35-1.

Rory Burns (30) soon went past 1,000 Test runs before Gabriel found his rhythm, Joe Denly the first to depart with one that nipped back between bat and pad and clattered into his stumps.

Burns and Zak Crawley were both removed lbw following successful West Indies reviews and England lost their fourth wicket of the session when Ollie Pope edged Holder behind.

Stokes was dropped either side of lunch and he was closing in on a half-century following a 67-run partnership with vice-captain Jos Buttler.

Yet Holder struck once more to send back Stokes, Shane Dowrich taking a catch behind the stumps, as he did again with a dive to his right to oust Buttler (35).

Another successful Windies lbw review accounted for Jofra Archer and, despite some late resistance from Dom Bess (31 not out), England only just snuck beyond past 200.

Windies opener Campbell then overturned two lbw decisions awarded to James Anderson, for whom it was a case of third time lucky, and it was not long before Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope came off due to the poor light.

 

HOLDER'S HOT STREAK

It was Gabriel who did the damage in the morning but Holder grabbed the ball and took charge after lunch with the dismissals of Stokes and Buttler.

His figures were the best for a West Indies captain in England and he has now taken at least five wickets in an innings in six of his past 10 Tests.

REVIEWS PRODUCE REWARDS

Holder's brilliance was not only restricted to his bowling endeavours as he also successfully overturned three lbw decisions given not out on the field in England's innings.

Campbell survived, twice, after being given out by the standing umpires too, before eventually unsuccessfully reviewing a third time. Home umpires are being used in this Test due to COVID-19 restrictions but, to be fair to Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth, they were a series of marginal calls.

MOMENT OF THE DAY - HOLDER WINS BATTLE OF THE CAPTAINS

Stokes was playing his usual talismanic role after lunch, utilising his feet to disrupt the bowlers' lines and producing a crucial sixth-wicket alliance with his deputy Buttler.

But in the battle of the all-round skippers, it was Holder who eventually came out on top from around the wicket, as Stokes prodded at a fuller delivery and got an outside edge.

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