MANCHESTER, England – West Indies were facing a daunting task to remain in the second Test after hundreds by Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley put England in command on day two at Old Trafford on Friday.
Replying to the hosts’ 469 for nine declared, West Indies finished the day on 32 for one, to trail by 437 runs heading into Saturday’s day three.
They suffered a blow when they lost left-handed opener John Campbell cheaply for 12, 20 minutes from the close, lbw to left-arm pacer Sam Curran courtesy of DRS.
Experienced opener Kraigg Brathwaite was unbeaten on six while nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph played solidly for 14 not out.
Stokes and Sibley had earlier taken centre stage, powering the innings in a an excellent 260-run fourth wicket stand after England resumed the morning on 207 for three.
Unbeaten on 86 at the start, Sibley continued in the same painstaking vein from Thursday’s opening day, and needed another 59 balls to get the 14 runs needed for his second Test hundred – the slowest century by an England batsman in two decades.
He raised his landmark in the third over before lunch, when he punched pacer Alzarri Joseph through mid on for three and all told, counted five fours off 372 balls in 9-¼ hours at the crease.
Stokes, meanwhile, resuming the morning on 59, reached 99 at lunch before completing his 10th Test hundred in the second over following the interval with a reverse sweep for four off off-spinner Roston Chase.
The England vice-captain punched 17 fours and two sixes in a knock requiring 356 deliveries and spanning just over eight hours.
West Indies bowlers toiled manfully but without reward and Chase proved the most successful bowler with five for 172 – his third five-wicket haul in Tests.
Veteran seamer Kemar Roach, wicket-less in his previous 86.5 balls of Test cricket, grabbed two wickets in one over to break the jinx and end with two for 58.
Needing early wickets to check England’s progress, West Indies was forced to go without success in the first session as Sibley and Stokes added 57 runs in laborious fashion from 24 overs sent down.
The pair of Shannon Gabriel and Joseph proved ineffective inside the first hour and even when the second new ball was taken shortly after the first drinks break, captain Jason Holder and Roach also failed to find the breakthrough.
On 264 for three at lunch, England upped their tempo once Stokes reached triple figures, adding 74 runs in the next hour before being separated.
Sibley was the first to fall, his toil ending in the first over following the drinks break when he picked out Roach in the deep off Chase.
There was no long wait for another wicket as Ollie Pope lasted all of eight balls before playing back and finding himself trapped lbw to Chase for seven at 352 for five.
Two partnerships then ensured England got their total beyond 450. First, Stokes added 43 for the sixth wicket with wicketkeeper Jos Buttler who made 40 from 79 balls with four fours, helping England to tea on 378 for five.
When Stokes, unbeaten on 172 at the interval, was taken behind off Roach in the fourth over afterwards attempting to improvise and Chris Woakes edged the very next ball to Shai Hope in the cordon, West Indies enjoyed a fruitful period as four wickets tumbled for just 32 runs.
However, Dom Bess belted three fours and a six in a 26-ball unbeaten 31 to inspire a 42-run, unbroken last wicket partnership with Stuart Broad (11 not out) to further frustrate West Indies.