North Sound – A marathon, second Test hundred from Nkrumah Bonner anchored West Indies to a 62-run, first innings lead over England in the first Test on Thursday in Antigua.
Bonner hit a career-best 123 and West Indies reached 373 for nine, replying to England’s first innings total of 311 at the close on the third day at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
The 33-year-old Jamaican, playing only his 10th Test, and the lower order capitalised on the absence of fast bowler Mark Wood with an elbow injury that kept the England spearhead off the field after lunch to grind the visitors.
Fortune favoured Bonner when he top-edged Ben Stokes a little short of mid-wicket on 40 and Zak Crawley dropped him at slip on 73 before lunch. He also got the benefit of umpire’s call after England reviewed a couple lbw shouts off left-arm spinner Jack Leach.
Bonner batted for a little over 9 1/4 hours and soaked up 355 balls to wear the English down before he fell in the closing minutes of play when TV umpire Nigel Duguid judged he had tickled a catch to the wicketkeeper down the leg side off the uncomplicated leg-spin of Dan Lawrence.
Starting the day on 202 for four, the Windies lost only one wicket before lunch when Jason Holder was caught behind off Ben Stokes for 45, adding only two to his overnight score, before nibbling at a delivery outside the off-stump in the fourth over of the day.
Joshua da Silva came to the crease and put his head down with the stoic Bonner to take the Caribbean side to 271 for five at lunch.
Bonner reached his 50 from 147 balls when he pushed pacer Craig Overton into the covers for a single, but there was a nervous moment for da Silva on 16, when umpire Joel Wilson adjudged him lbw to the same bowler.
The West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman immediately reviewed however, and ball-tracking technology suggested that the delivery was clearly heading down the leg-side and missing the stumps.
After lunch, da Silva was lbw to Jack Leach for 32, adding only four to his lunch score, before he played back and tried to turn a delivery into square leg in the fifth over after the interval and unsuccessfully reviewed umpire Wilson’s decision.
Da Silva put on 73 for the sixth wicket with Bonner, but the example of resilience was clearly lost on Alzarri Joseph and he was caught at deep fine leg off Overton for two in the next over from a miscued hook.
West Indies were still 29 in the red when Joseph departed, but Roach came to the crease and spent nearly two hours at the crease either side of taking the Caribbean side to tea on 322 for seven.
He formally put the hosts in the lead when he drove the uncomplicated off-spin of England captain Joe Root through cover for the first of two successive boundaries in the third-last over before the break.
Bonner swept Root to the deep fine leg boundary for the eighth four to reach within two of triple figures in the final over before tea, and he returned to sweep the second ball after the break from Leach to the fine leg boundary to reach his milestone.
Roach was run out after putting on 44 for the eighth wicket with Bonner, whose 46-run stand for the ninth wicket with Veerasammy Permaul frustrated England further before his dismissal.
Permaul, not out on 26, and Jayden Seales, yet to score, made sure England will have to take to the field again on Friday after they have already spent 157 overs chasing leather.
ENGLAND 311 (Jonny Bairstow 140, Ben Foakes 42, Ben Stokes 36, Chris Woakes 28, Dan Lawerence 20, Joe Root 13; Jayden Seales 4-79, Jason Holder 2-24, Alzarri Joseph 2-70, Kemar Roach 2-6).
WEST INDIES 373 for nine (Nkrumah Bonner 123, Kraigg Brathwaite 55, Jason Holder 45, John Campbell 35, Joshua da Silva 32, Veerasammy Permaul 26 not out, Shamarh Brooks 18, Kemar Roach 15, Jermaine Blackwood 11; Ben Stokes 2-42, Craig Overton 2-85).