Hosts swept into power and skipper was able to declare with a lead of 321 runs thanks to all-rounder’s superb 84
MOEEN ALI and his mates transformed a dangerous situation into complete superiority and now England can win the Second Test.
Moeen scored an aggressive and significant 84 and was one of an incredible six half-century makers in England’s second innings.
From being precariously placed, England swept into power and Joe Root was able to declare with a lead of 321 runs.
That looked almost unthinkable on Sunday when England surrendered a first innings deficit of 169 runs and were 94-3 and then 327-7 in their second innings.
Eventually, they piled up 490-8 declared – and that is England’s all-time highest total without any batsman scoring a century and the fifth-highest by any country.
It demonstrated the immense strength of England’s middle-order and the fragile self-belief of West Indies, who cracked under the pressure.
The Windies openers managed to survive the final six overs and finished day four with 5-0 – still needing 317 to win. But a Windies victory is surely pie in the sky stuff.
Even though West Indies are one of the weaker teams in world cricket – struggling for talent and short on nous and experience – an England win would still be remarkable after they were so far behind on first innings.
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The half-centuries by Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan have almost certainly secured their spots on this winter’s Ashes tour.
Root made his second fifty of the match and the half-centuries by Ben Stokes, Moeen and Chris Woakes confirmed England’s batting depth.
West Indies have only themselves to blame in many ways because they have dropped seven catches in this match – costing a total of 235 runs.
Root was reprieved early in both innings and Stokes was also spilled before he reached double figures in his first innings century.
The No4 probably thought he was going to be let off again on 72 when he cut Shannon Gabriel into the gully – but this time Shai Hope held a juggling catch.
Malan enjoyed his fair share of fortune – notably on 32 when Windies wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich dived in front of first slip and Kieran Powell failed to hang on.
Stokes was in imperious form once more. He needed to change his bat because his favourite was split – and he promptly used the new one to hit the next two deliveries for four
But the left-hander was caught at long-off from the first ball after mid-afternoon drinks. When Malan was deceived by a beauty and Jonny Bairstow dragged on attempting a reverse sweep, the Windies had taken 3-24 in seven overs.
England were only 158 ahead and seven wickets down.
Malan never looked completely convincing but he battled so hard that his 61 runs occupied 186 balls. He should get a gig in Australia.
The match was swept completely away from the touring team’s grasp by an eighth-wicket partnership of 117 between Moeen and Woakes.
As good as that pair were, the Windies were appalling in the period after tea.
More than three days of generally encouraging work was undone in the first 45 minutes of the evening session.
The tone was set when opening batsman and occasional bowler Kraigg Brathwaite – bafflingly asked to bowl so Bishoo could change ends – began the session with a loopy full toss and then Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach sent down four loose overs that cost 45 runs.
Moeen, on 32, was caught behind off wrist-spinner Devendra Bishoo but the umpire called no-ball, although TV replays showed the decision was marginal and probably wrong. A lucky escape for Moeen.
Like a pricked balloon, the Windies’ spirit visibly deflated and Moeen and Woakes pretty much helped themselves.
Moeen, as selfless as ever, could have chugged his way to a century but instead aimed for quick runs – and was caught on the boundary for 84.
Still the pain wasn’t finished for West Indies as Woakes and Stuart Broad put on another 46 before Root called a halt.
It was a positive move by England’s captain, who wanted a crack at the Windies openers before the close. Brathwaite and Powell hung on.
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