England in West Indies: Jason Holder & Shane Dowrich dominate tourists


Jason Holder hit 23 fours and eight sixes
First Test, Kensington Oval, Barbados (day three)
West Indies 289 (Hetmyer 81, Anderson 5-46) & 415-6 dec (Holder 202*, Dowrich 116*)
England 77 (Roach 5-17) & 56-0
England target: 628

West Indies captain Jason Holder hit a sublime double century and Shane Dowrich made a fine hundred to dominate England on day three of the first Test in Barbados.

They added an unbroken 295 as England failed take a wicket, with Holder 202 not out and Dowrich unbeaten on 116.

Holder declared on 415-6 immediately after passing 200 to set the tourists a nominal 628 to win.

England openers Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings held firm to reach 56-0.

But England stand next to no chance of batting two full days to force a draw, despite the Kensington Oval pitch having flattened out compared to a remarkable day two on which 18 wickets fell.

Instead, the impressive West Indies need 10 wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

Holder and Dowrich dominate woeful England

West Indies were already almost certain of victory when they resumed on 127-6, leading by 339, but Dowrich and Holder ensured total domination, ruthlessly keeping England out in the field for 67.1 demoralising overs.

Holder batted with calculated aggression, smashing spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid for massive sixes down the ground and lofting anything short from England’s weary pace bowlers over mid-wicket.

Fittingly, he brought up his third Test century off just 99 balls with a mighty six off Rashid but had no intention of declaring at that point, clearly revelling in the finest performance of his career on his home ground.

In contrast, Dowrich played straight with impressive discipline, his innings a mix of careful accumulation and several sumptuous punches down the ground for four.

With so much time remaining to bowl England out again, Holder could afford to keep the onslaught going, passing 150 as he helped guide his great friend Dowrich to a century of his own shortly after tea.

Holder’s appetite for carnage was undimmed and he blasted his way to a double century off 229 balls, ripping off his helmet in ecstasy while simultaneously telling England their torturous day in the field was finally over.

England go wicketless

Given 18 wickets fell on a riotous Thursday in Bridgetown, England would have hoped there was still enough in the pitch that they could quickly pick up the final four West Indies wickets to at least limit the damage.

Trying to emulate the success the West Indies fast bowlers had by bowling back of a length to exploit uneven bounce, England’s seamers duly dropped short but were ineffective, the ball too often just sitting up for Holder to strike.

James Anderson and Ben Stokes beat the bat several times but they have bowled 48 and 50.3 overs in the match respectively, while Sam Curran has sent down only 29, again suggesting England should have selected Stuart Broad.

Their task was so gruelling because Joe Root had no means of control from his Moeen or Rashid, who were both effectively hit out of the attack by Holder, leaving the captain as England’s most effective spinner.

Part-time medium-pacer Jennings came closest to dismissing Holder – Burns dropped a tough chance over his shoulder when he was on 127 – while wicketkeeper Ben Foakes could not cling on one-handed when Holder flicked down leg on 151.

After such a chastening day, Burns and Jennings deserve credit for playing so calmly to see out a tricky 20 overs, both showing improved defence while Burns put the bad balls away. The rest of England’s batsmen should take note.

What can England get out of this Test?

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “England will almost certainly lose this game but you can at least take stuff with you.

“In a three-match series you can get over an aberration, a performance like yesterday. You can take some character with you, you can take some form with you.

“That was a really outstanding effort from Burns and Jennings. England have got to show the sort of character that these two have shown.

“They’ve shown some fight. The remaining batsmen will take a lot of heart from that. They’ve got to get through tomorrow and see what happens on the fifth day.”

Former England spinner Vic Marks on the Test Match Special podcast: “Someone like Geoffrey Boycott would love this situation.

“The wicket isn’t playing too many tricks and there will be men around the bat, meaning there are gaps in the field.

“Don’t set targets that are too big. Bat for 15 minutes, then another 15 minutes.”