Mark Wood answered West Indian pace with fearsome heat of his own as the England fast bowler reduced the home side to 74 for five in reply to the tourists’ first innings total of 277 at tea on the second day of the third and final Test at the Darren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia on Sunday.
Playing his first match of the series, Wood dismissed Shai Hope and Roston Chase off successive deliveries, both taken at gully, and added the scalp of Shimron Hetmyer, caught at the second attempt by England captain Joe Root at first slip, off the final delivery of the afternoon session.
His raw speed unsettled the West Indies middle-order batsmen after Moeen Ali ended another half-century opening partnership by accounting for stand-in captain Kraigg Brathwaite and partner John Campbell off consecutive deliveries.
Cruising along at 57 without loss before Ali’s strike, the West Indies slumped to 59 for four a few minutes later.
Wood’s subsequent removal of Hetmyer leaves the onus on Darren Bravo’s shoulders to revive the hosts’ innings with the lower order going into the final session of what has already been an eventful day.
England’s batsmen collapsed to the West Indian fast bowlers yet again, this time operating effectively with the second new ball, in the morning session as the visitors lost six wickets for 45 runs to be dismissed just before lunch.
Buttler top scores
Wicketless on the first day when an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 124 between Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes lifted the tourists to 231 for four, Kemar Roach stole the spotlight in scything through the middle and lower order to finish with figures of four for 48.
He now has 17 wickets in series.
It was Shannon Gabriel though who made the first strike of the morning by bowling Buttler on his overnight score of 67 with just one run added to the total.
That was the trigger for the slide and a reinvigorated Roach quickly got involved by dismissing Stokes for the innings top score of 79 when the attacking left-hander miscued an attempted pull and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich sprinted 30 metres to backward square-leg in clinging on to a superb diving catch.
Pushed down the order after struggling at the pivotal number three position in Barbados and Antigua, Jonny Bairstow laboured for 33 deliveries in managing just two runs before Roach breached the right-hander’s defence.
It was then the turn for Alzarri Joseph to star with the ball and in the field.
First he induced Ali to follow a delivery angled across him to offer a simple catch to Bravo at first slip for his second wicket of the innings.
Then he raced round the boundary’s edge at fine-leg to pouch a well-judged catch when Wood top-edged a hook off Roach.
Last man James Anderson proved easy prey for the rampant Roach, fending his second delivery into the waiting hands of Keemo Paul at third slip to put a seal on another dominant session for the West Indies in a series where they started as massive underdogs.