England scent Lord's success
England were seemingly closing on victory in the first Investec Test following a frustrating collapse from West Indies at Lord’s.
The tourists headed into day three well behind the eight-ball; England were 259 for three, already 16 runs ahead.
Yet West Indies’ pace quartet – of Kemar Roach, Fidel Edwards, Darren Sammy and Shannon Gabriel – battled gamely this morning to renew hope.
Roach – who ensured Andrew Strauss added just one to his overnight 121 – was the pick of the attack, yet it was debutant Gabriel who ended with the best figures, 3-60, as England managed only 398.
But, bowling with the usual mixture of patience and excellence – and helped by some less-than-stellar moments from their opponents – England reduced West Indies to 120 for four, still 35 adrift.
Earlier, the wickets tumbling around him meant the crowd at the home of cricket may well have been denied an Ian Bell masterclass.
England’s number five had serenely moved to 61 when, with only number 11 James Anderson for company, he holed out to deep square-leg attempting to up the tempo.
Bell had barely played a false shot up until that point yet there were plenty of good ones; the usual crisp footwork and excellent timing were hallmarks of his 105-ball stay.
Another who showed flashes of technical brilliance was debutant Jonny Bairstow. Coming in at six, the Yorkshireman was given a baptism of fire as Roach forced him to wear a well-pitched short delivery first up.
Yet in between that and his dismissal to the same bowler – he was trapped plumb in front – were some flashes of real quality.
His three boundaries seemed as effortless as they were impressive; an authoritative cut was followed by clean front-foot shots either side of the wicket.
In the end, Bairstow managed 16 – three less than Matt Prior, who also showed moments of his best form before giving debutant Gabriel a first Test wicket playing across the line.
Tim Bresnan went without scoring, while Stuart Broad inside-edged Edwards behind.
Graeme Swann profited from some poor bowling to deliver an entertaining 25-ball 30, which included four well-timed boundaries, the best of which was a clip through midwicket.
He eventually fell to Gabriel, who wrapped up a solid first act in the game’s premier form by getting rid of Bell.
Despite scoring less than they might have hoped, England’s tails were up when they came into bowl – though Kieran Powell and Adrian Barath initially seemed up to the challenge.
The latter left with greater frequency than his first knock but drove just as well, while his partner survived being given out by the usually-dependable umpire Aleem Dar; replays showed he had not nicked off against Broad.
Yet the hope built through a 36-run opening stand was quickly extinguished in 10 minutes of madness.
Barath could do little as he feathered a beauty from Bresnan through to Prior, but his fellow opener will have felt regret when walking through the Long Room.
Falling into the trap laid by Strauss, the left-hander top-edged a pull to Bell, one of two men on the leg-side fence.
That moment was followed by worse as Darren Bravo called for a single, only to send back partner Kirk Edwards, who did not halt his stride in walking back to the pavilion after Bairstow found a direct hit.
Bravo, offering no shot, was bowled by a clever Swann arm ball after tea and, despite Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels battling to 34 and 26 respectively – West Indies still had plenty of hard work ahead.
6:30pm - STUMPS - WI 341/4; Chanderpaul 34, Samuels 26 - Chanderpaul helps himself to another boundary, hitting a Bresnan full toss through cover. Stumps soon follows and, despite a fine effort from Chanderpaul and Samuels, West Indies till have plenty to do given they are 35 runs in arrears.
6:21pm - REVIEW - Bresnan, bowling around the wicket, raps Chanderpaul on the pad, only for umpire Marais Erasmus to deliver a not-out verdict. Andrew Strauss calls for the review, which shows the ball was missing leg. Bresnan's misery is compounded by Chanderpaul helping himself to two fours later in the over.
6:16pm - This is an excellent knock so far from Samuels, who, having drove Bresnan to the boundary, repeats the trick off Swann after skipping down the track.
6:05pm - A rare false shot from Chanderpaul, who attempts to hook but misses completely. Otherwise, it is as you were at Lord's, with the left-hander and Samuels showing their mettle.
5:50pm - Where did that come from? From the obdurate to the brilliant. Chanderpaul, off the 71st ball of his innings, leans into a glorious cover drive off Anderson.
5:27pm - Marlon Samuels gets off the mark with a well-timed cut through point off Swann and looks positive with his footwork. Chanderpaul, meanwhile, continues to go about his business in the same manner.
5:06pm - WICKET! Bravo b Swann 21. WI 65/4 - In the end, the lack of adventure proves Bravo's undoing. Swann finds just enough drift into the left-hander, who offered no shot, to clip the top of off stump.
5:01pm - The stalemate continues at Lord's, as does the frustration from England's perspective. Having barely played an aggressive shot alongside Chanderpaul, Bravo slashes through the slips for a boundary.
4:47pm - Maybe the skipper is reading this while on the field. Swann is into the attack and instantly causing problems as Bravo tries an expansive drive and edges just past slip for four.
4:39pm - DROPPED CATCH - Much like the one earlier, it is harsh to call this a drop. Tim Bresnan pitches short and Chanderpaul gets his cut wrong, Anderson failing to take the catch following a fantastic one-handed diving attempt.
4:32pm - Anderson beats Bravo with two lovely deliveries, which epitomises the frustration England are feeling at the moment. I think it might be time for a bit of Graeme Swann.
4:21pm - Bravo is finally off the mark. It took 17 balls but what a way to do it; James Anderson pitches too full and the left-hander leans into a glorious cover drive.
4:10pm - Chanderpaul is looking typically solid already, while getting the bowlers excited every now and then by shaping to play and moving the bat inside the line of the ball. Tim Bresnan does find the edge at one stage, but Chanderpaul plays with soft hands to leave no chance of it carrying to slip.
4pm - Darren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul make their way back into the middle knowing there is a massive rebuilding job needed here. For England, they may well be thinking about trying to wrap up a victory this evening - though maybe I am getting too far ahead of myself.
3:41pm - TEA - WI 36/3; Bravo 0 - And with that, the players will head in for tea. A terrible few minutes for West Indies, who, up until that point, were fighting valiantly.
3:40pm - WICKET! Edwards run out Bairstow 0. WI 36/3 - It's a great moment for Bairstow, but what a terrible mix-up. Darren Bravo calls Kirk Edwards through for a single, only to then send the right-hander back. Bairstow scoops the ball up at cover and a direct hit means West Indies have now lost three wickets for no runs in nine deliveries.
3:36pm - WICKET! Powell c Bell b Broad 8. WI 36/2 - Powell has fallen into the trap, I am afraid. England have two men on the leg-side fence, one of whom is Bell, who gratefully takes the catch as the left-hander top-edges a pull off Broad.
3:31pm - WICKET! Barath c Prior b Bresnan 24. WI 36/1 - The introduction of Bresnan brings runs for Barath, who punches through midwicket before guiding through slip two balls later. But the Yorkshireman has his revenge, finding the edge with a perfect delivery to give Matt Prior an easy catch.
3:27pm - Kevin Pietersen clatters the stumps at the non-striker's end before embarking upon a celebration. No such excitement from the third umpire, though, with replays showing Powell was comfortably back in.
3:23pm - It's apt that Barath shows that kind of swagger as Sir Viv Richards was walking through the Media Centre. Anderson bowls just outside off stump and the opener leans into a gorgeous drive through cover, after which he just stands and admires his work.
3:14pm - This is good, battling stuff from West Indies' openers now. Barath and Powell are repelling England impressively in difficult conditions.
3:00pm - DROPPED CATCH - It's a bit harsh to call it a drop really. Stuart Broad gets just enough seam movement to find Adrian Barath's edge and, diving low to his left, Tim Bresnan just shells a one-handed chance.
2:56pm - REVIEW - Anderson finds a little bit of movement away and thinks he has found Powell’s edge. Umpire Aleem Dar agree and raises the finger, after which Powell opts for an instant review. The left-hander did not think he had hit it and so it proves, with the decision being overturned.
2:38pm - James Anderson’s opening over passes with little incident, but now the crowd is awaiting a hat-trick ball from Stuart Broad, who wrapped up the first innings off successive deliveries. It’s all a bit of an anti-climax as the bowler, who claimed three in three at Trent Bridge last year, is cut through point by Powell.
2:24pm - WICKET! Bell c Powell b Gabriel 61. ENG – 398 all out, 155 ahead - Gabriel ends with impressive figures of 3-60 on debut as Bell pulls to deep square-leg, where Kieran Powell takes an outstanding catch diving forward.
2:18pm - WICKET! Swann b Gabriel 30 - The fun ends as Swann falls for a 25-ball 30, during which he hit six boundaries. His ambitions proves his undoing as, attempting to work a ball through leg, he is bowled comprehensively.
2:08pm - FIFTY - Bell (93b 3x4 0x6) - England's number five brings up a composed half-century with a single into the off side, after which Swann moves to a 30 with another four through cover.
2:06pm - West Indies are getting it wrong to Swann, who helps himself to another boundary through cover after Ian Bell swivels into a beautiful pull shot. Swann has been allowed to get into his stride now, epitomised by two glorious on-side boundaries.
1:52pm - Graeme Swann is quickly into his stride, profiting from some wide deliveries to hit Edwards for back-to-back boundaries. Cannot help but think West Indies would benefit from bowling straight, with the odd short ball thrown in for good measure.
1:43pm - WICKET! Broad b Edwards 10. ENG 342/8 - Fidel Edwards gives West Indies the perfect start after lunch. The seamer finds just enough swing back into Stuart Broad to clip the top of off stump. That is a deserved reward for Edwards, who bowled without luck for much of the innings.
1:40pm - The players are back out after lunch and we are ready for the action to re-commence at Lord's.
1pm - LUNCH - ENG 341/7; Bell 38, Broad 10 - Bell and Broad have seen England, who now lead by 98 runs, through to lunch at the home of cricket. West Indies can reflect upon a fine fightback after taking four wickets this morning, but the home side remain in control.
12:48pm - England aiming to just bat through to lunch it seems here. Bell has looked in excellent touch all day, while Stuart Broad is playing behind a solid defence for the time being.
12:32pm - WICKET! Bresnan c Ramdin b Sammy 0. ENG 323/7 - England have lost another and a lot of their hard work is being undone here. Darren Sammy gets one to nip away from Tim Bresnan, who feathers through to Denesh Ramdin.
12:24pm - WICKET! Prior b Gabriel 19. ENG 320/6 - Prior goes and Shannon Gabriel has a first Test wicket on debut. England's keeper has looked in outstanding touch but plays all round a straight one to spark jubilant scenes as Gabriel celebrates with vigour.
12:12pm - Prior picks up where he left off when play resumes, clipping Roach through midwicket for four before scampering a well-run two. He now has 17 off just 12 balls.
12:01pm - Matt Prior likes it here at Lord's, where he has struck three of his six Test hundreds. The wicketkeeper-batsman starts imperiously, driving down the ground for four, and looks positive from the off. Drinks are coming on to the field now, so it's time for a little break.
11:49am - WICKET! Bairstow lbw Roach 16. ENG 292/5 - The debutant falls and Roach has a third. The Yorkshire batsman was beginning to click into top gear, epitomised by a gorgeous off-side drive earlier in the over. But Roach gets his revenge by nipping one back down the slope to trap Bairstow plumb in front. Disappointment for the youngster.
11:40am - That's even better from Bairstow. Roach pays the price for bowling too straight as the debutant clips through leg for another four. He's looking considerably more comfortable, yet breaks his bat digging out a yorker. A new one comes out and away we go again.
11:32am - Bairstow gets off the mark with a scampered single to cover, but is finding life difficult at the moment with Edwards and Roach both finding plenty of assistance. But the youngster then helps himself to a first boundary in five-day cricket, clipping Edwards off his hip through square-leg.
11:19am - Roach follows up the dismissal of Strauss by giving Jonny Bairstow a fitting introduction to Test cricket, striking him with a short ball first up. This is excellent stuff now from West Indies' premier paceman as he beats the edge to complete a fine over.
11:14am - Review - WICKET! Strauss c Ramdin b Roach 122 ENG 266/4 - After Edwards beats Bell's bat twice in quick succession, Roach nips one back at Strauss, prompting a loud caught-behind appeal. Umpire Marais Erasmus delivers a not-out verdict, which is subsequently overturned after Darren Sammy calls for the review; HotSpot showed the ball clipped the inside edge.
11:04am - Fidel Edwards is shaping the ball marginally, if anything, and Andrew Strauss is happy to shoulder arms. But Ian Bell is off to a fine start as he guides Kemar Roach to the point boundary with typical class.
10:58am - The players are in the middle, meaning Fidel Edwards will complete his over from yesterday evening. He has four balls left and a new cherry in hand - for West Indies, this is the crucial hour. If Strauss and Ian Bell can get through it, expect an enormous total.
10:45am - Hello and welcome to the third day of our live coverage at Lord's, where England are in command against West Indies. The home side will resume on 259 for three - 16 runs ahead - with Andrew Strauss 121 not out. I am sure he will be looking to go on and get a 'daddy hundred' as they have become known. The skipper has a great chance: the sun is shining and the pitch is flat.