Gabriel, Holder Crush England Top Order

England batsman Joe Denly is bowled by fast bowler Shannon Gabriel (out of picture) on Thursday’s second day.

SOUTHAMPTON, England – Fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder shared four wickets as West Indies wiped out England’s top order in the opening session of the first Test at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday.

At lunch, the hosts were reeling on 106 for five with their captain Ben Stokes unbeaten on 21 and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler unbeaten on nine.

Gabriel, who has bowled with consistent pace, has taken three for 38 while the accurate Holder has picked up two for 24.

West Indies had the chance to remove Stokes 10 minutes before the interval but Kemar Roach put down a difficult low diving catch at long leg off pacer Alzarri Joseph, after the left-hander failed to control an ambitious pull.

Resuming on 35 for one after only 82 minutes were possible on Wednesday, England’s batsmen found themselves pegged back by an accurate Windies attack in seam-friendly overcast conditions and were quickly under pressure.

After a quiet start to the morning, England lost their first wicket of the day to be 48 for two when right-hander Joe Denly was late on a defensive prod and was bowled by Gabriel after adding four to his overnight 14.

With just three runs added, Rory Burns perished lbw for 30 in Gabriel’s next over courtesy DRS and Zak Crawley (10) added 20 with Stokes for the fourth wicket before also being given lbw on review, to become Holder’s first wicket of the morning.

And Ollie Pope then punched two handsome boundaries in scoring 12 before nicking one from Holder which angled in then straightened, for wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich to complete a straightforward catch at 87 for five.

CMC

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