Few would have imagined what was to transpire on day two of the Test between England and West Indies at Bridgetown in Barbados. The day began with the hosts on top, and they wrapped up their domination with the ball, cleaning up the England tail quickly. If the Windies thought they had a great chance to build up a decent lead, James Anderson gave them a rude shock with yet another five-wicket haul as their innings lasted less than 50 overs. By the end of the day however, the momentum had swung back in West Indies’ favour as Jerome Taylor and co reduced England to 39 for 5.
It was an unbelievable day of Test cricket as wickets kept tumbling with alarming regularity. Having been dismantled for 189 in response to England’s 257, it seemed West Indies had blown away their best chance of winning the Test. But, Taylor came out all guns blazing and kept the fight alive. Taylor, bowling with pace and vigour, had the struggling Jonathan Trott lbw for 9 in what could most possibly be the makeshift opener’s last Test knock. He also added the scalp of Ian Bell in the same mode, handing the Englishman a pair in the game.
While Taylor was the star with figures of 2 for 16 from 6 overs, Shannon Gabriel came up with a Glenn McGrath-like effort. He sent down four maidens in six overs, and also dismissed the first-innings centurion Alastair Cook, who edged one to slip when on 4. The in-form Joe Root needed to hang around, but was also caught in the slip, attempting to drive Jason Holder. England lost half their side for 39 when Moeen Ali dragged a skidder from Veerasammy Pemaul on the stumps. England ended the day with a lead of 107.
The extraordinary turn of events meant that victory was far from England’s sights in spite of another radiant bowling performance from Anderson. He had Kraigg Braithwaite caught in the slip second ball with a perfect outswinger. A couple of overs later, he dashed Shai Hope’s hopes of a good knock by getting him to edge one to slip. He then maintained a stranglehold over Marlon Samuels, working him over with outswingers followed by the deadly in-dipper, which the batsman failed to spot, as Windies collapsed to 21 for 3.
Jermaine Blackwood held fort for West Indies with an attacking 85 from 88 balls, before he was last man out, falling to Anderson. The England pacer also added Permaul and Taylor to his kitty to finish with awesome figures of 6 for 42. This was not the first batting collapse of the day. Earlier, Taylor bowled with great skill to finish off the England innings, which had resumed at 240 for 7. The last three wickets went for the addition of 17 runs. That sort of set the tone of the day, with bowlers continuing to dominate, leaving neither side with a distinct advantage at the close of play on day 2.
--By A Cricket Correspondent