Bridgetown, Barbados: England will target a first innings score of around 500 before having a crack at some weary West Indies batters on day two of the second Test on Thursday, according to the team’s batting coach Marcus Trescothick.
After a largely frustrating day in the field on Wednesday as England advanced to 244 for three, West Indies will likely have to spend several more hours in the field before finally getting their turn to bat at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.
“West Indies lads, hopefully, will be tired by the end of the day and mentally we’ll put them under pressure with that big score, hopefully,” Trescothick told BBC.
England’s bowlers, meanwhile, had the luxury of putting their feet up on the first day as Joe Root ran up an unbeaten century with able assistance from Dan Lawrence (91) and Alex Lees (30).
“What more do you want apart from the ball nipping all over the place (than to) sit up there for a day and a half and then go out to bowl with 500 on the board. That will be the ideal for them,” Trescothick said.
The England batting performance delayed the on-field debuts of Test newcomers Matt Fisher and Saqib Mahmood, who will be raring to go when they finally get the ball in their hands for a crack at the West Indies batters.
The pace duo won their call-ups due when Mark Wood was ruled out with an elbow injury, while Craig Overton fell ill on the eve of the match.
Fisher’s selection reportedly allowed his family to cash in, literally, on a long shot bet made a decade ago.
The Daily Mail recently reported that Fisher was aged 14 when his mother and brothers placed £100 ($130) on him at 50/1 to represent England one day.
Even with inflation factored in, that is a nice return.
Back on the field, Lawrence’s last-over impetuousness cost him a maiden Test hundred but Root’s composed, unbeaten century guided England to a comfortable position, justifying his decision to bat first again on winning the toss in conditions not dissimilar to the placid pitch on offer in the drawn first Test in Antigua a week earlier.
England’s captain reached stumps at 119 off 246 deliveries with 12 fours and his 164-run third-wicket stand with Lawrence turned the screws on a West Indies team that contributed to its own plight.
Wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva dropped a leg-side catch offered by Root off senior pacer Kemar Roach when on 34, while Alzarri Joseph, in the unfamiliar position of first slip, missed a straightforward chance offered by an attacking Lawrence off Jayden Seales in the final session.
Energised by that reprieve off the second new ball, Lawrence was not prepared to exercise caution even with the end of play approaching.
Consecutive boundaries to the bowling of Jason Holder took him to 91 but in attempting another full-blooded off drive off what proved to be the final ball of the day, he gave a simple catch to home skipper Kraigg Brathwaite at short extra-cover.
“It was obviously disappointing for Dan the way it ended but this was a really great, positive day for us,” said Trescothick.
Trescothick, the former England opener, was full of praise for Root as a batsman and leader following his 25th Test ton.
“To have the discipline and the approach the way he is going about his business, it’s a real example for everyone else within our side.
“It’s great to see that hunger, that desire to keep coming back for more in Test cricket, given that he’s just coming off a hundred in the last Test.”
Crawley goes for a duck
Root had come to the crease in just the fourth over of the day after Seales removed Zak Crawley without scoring.
Fresh from an excellent century in the second innings at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the upright right-hander touched a seaming delivery through to da Silva who make no mistake falling low to his right.
Mindful of a double-failure in his debut Test in Antigua, the other opener, Alex Lees, played with exaggerated care through his three hours at the crease, facing 138 deliveries and finding the boundary on only three occasions.
His vigil ended in the afternoon session when left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul trapped him leg-before for 30 to end a 72-run second-wicket stand with Root.
Permaul was one of three slow blowers employed by Brathwaite, who seemed keen to increase the West Indies overrate and therefore avoid the docking of World Test Championship points and assessing of fines on the players as was the case in the first Test of the three-match series.
Lawrence was positive from the moment he came to the crease, striking 13 fours and one six off 150 balls. With Root already in full flow by the time he arrived, it provided an entertaining spectacle for a near full house dominated by delirious English visitors.