Cricket

England vs West Indies: All-round Ben Stokes stars in hosts’ series-levelling 113-run win at Manchester

  • The Associated Press
  • July 21st, 2020
  • 0:09:29 IST

Manchester: Ben Stokes delivered crucial contributions with bat and ball to lead England to a 113-run win over the West Indies late on the final day of the second Test, tying the three-match series at 1-1 on Monday.

Needing to bat out 85 overs to salvage a draw and retain the Wisden Trophy, the West Indies was dismissed for 198 with 14.5 overs — or one hour — left of a Test played at an empty Old Trafford.

The third Test starts on Friday and will also be in Manchester.

Having already put England in charge of the Test after a patient 176 in the first innings, Stokes transitioned to limited-overs mode to smash an unbeaten 78 off 57 balls early on day five, allowing England to declare on 129-3 and set an unlikely victory target of 312.

Ben Stokes celebrates with teammates after getting the key wicket of Jermaine Blackwood on the final day of the second Test. AP

Ben Stokes celebrates with teammates after getting the key wicket of Jermaine Blackwood on the final day of the second Test. AP

The West Indies was reduced to 37-4 after 15 overs of the reply, but a fifth-wicket stand of 100 runs between Shamarh Brooks (62) and Jermaine Blackwood (55) gave them hope of a draw heading into the final over before tea.

Stokes — who else? — made the huge breakthrough as Blackwood gloved a ball down the legside to diving wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, igniting England's charge.

“Ben keeps developing his game and improving all the time," England captain Joe Root said. "Credit to him, he really has taken every opportunity to make himself a better player.

"Throughout the game you’ve seen how destructive he can be when he needs to be and also when he needs to bat time and play to the situation, he can do that, too.”

There was some defiance by the West Indies’ lower order in the final session, but spinner Dom Bess took two wickets — including the last one of Kemar Roach to short leg Ollie Pope, who needed two grabs to snaffle the chance — and England took the series to a decider.

“It’s all to play for," West Indies captain Jason Holder said. "This is the perfect return to cricket.”

England wrapped up victory with big bowling performances over the last two days, with a full day — on Saturday — lost to rain in Manchester.

In what appeared to be a concern for England ahead of the third Test, Stokes failed to complete his 15th, and what proved to be final, over of the day.

However, he said there was "absolutely nothing to worry about."

“To be honest," Stokes said, “it was just the body. I feel very old this Test match. It was a bit of body stiffness.”

England will likely freshen up its bowling lineup, with James Anderson, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer pushing for recalls, but Stuart Broad staked a claim to stay in the team by claiming three wickets in each of the West Indies' innings.

He took three of the first four wickets on Monday, finishing with 3-42.

This is the first series of international cricket since the return of the sport after a four-month shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Tests are being played without spectators and in isolated environments.

Updated Date: July 21, 2020 00:09:29 IST

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