Though England had a struggling start on the opening day of the third and final game of the three-match Test series at Old Trafford (Manchester), middle-order batsmen Ollie Pope and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler helped the hosts to get out from the tensed situation with their dominant last session batting.
While this series is level by 1-1, the Caribbean captain Jason Holder won the toss in this series-decider Test and decided to field first once again. The hosts England made two changes (in Jofra Archer and James Anderson; out Zak Crawley and Sam Curran) while the visitors’ Caribbean side started the game with the only change (in Rahkeem Cornwall; out Alzarri Joseph). At the stumps on day one, England were batting on 258/4.
England struggled the first two sessions
Opener Dom Sibley, who scored a slow century in the first innings of the last Test, was dismissed in the first over of the match as the West Indies pacer Kemar Roach trapped him lbw for a five-ball duck.
Another opener Rory Burns and captain Joe Root were then building up a slow partnership (46 runs), which was ended through Root’s (17) run-out after Roston Chase’s throw just managed to dislodge a striker-end bail in the right time. At lunch, England were batting on 66/2.
In the eighth over of the second session, Roach gave a big relief to the visitors after his brilliant inswinger clean bowled Ben Stokes (20).
After taking a good time, opener Rory Burns completed his half-century in 126 balls. Later, Chase dismissed Burns (57 off 147 balls) in his second over of the game after Rahkeem Cornwall took a brilliant slip catch. Before the tea break, England were battling on 131/4.
Unbroken 5th wicket partnership: Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler have built up 136 runs
However, in the last session of the day, Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler dominated with the time progress. At the stumps of the day, while Pope was not out on 91 runs and Buttler was batting on 56 runs, they have already set the 136 runs partnership for the unbroken fifth wicket.