Paul Collingwood thought the England players deserved medals after the Ashes, and at the end of day three in Antigua – a day as daunting as anything seen in Australia – the interim head coach was ready to go. give more.
Over the course of nearly 10 hours, Nkrumah Bonner’s 123 beat West Indies to 373 for nine and a 62 lead. kind of optimistic assessment that was characteristic of his own playing days.
“Absolutely not,” Collingwood replied when asked if he was disappointed with England’s bowlers. “I thought today was probably one of the best efforts I’ve seen in an England shirt and in Test cricket.
“To go for 170 runs and take five wickets today is a pretty good effort, especially building on two sessions on the pitch yesterday. I found the guys’ fitness levels and the attitude on the pitch were exceptional.
On some level, his point of view was understandable. The pitch at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium fell into a deep slumber and the efforts of Joe Root’s bowlers could hardly be questioned, especially after losing Mark Wood to an elbow injury which raised alarm bells on his pursuit in this series.
Ben Stokes generally thundered for his captain, scoring 28 overs in the innings and 19 on the day when he was supposed to be used only sparingly after a side strain. Jack Leach sent 43 tight overs and was unlucky to have only one wicket to show for his effort.
But there was also a sense that an attack that has been asked to emerge from the shadows of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad might actually be out of depth if conditions like these persist on tour. Chris Woakes and Craig Overton did little to shake the belief that they are just a little too English and 157 overs made it the longest run Root’s men had on the court this winter.
There was at least a moment of cheer before the stumps, with Dan Lawrence’s insane, wrong-footed stumble finally taking Bonner off his rock when a weak tickled leg was smothered by Ben Foakes and snapped back into place. exam. But that wicket should have come earlier in the room, with Bonner edging out Leach to go through his pad on 73 only for Zak Crawley to grass the chance.
The biggest headache is Wood, the only Englishman to improve his reputation in Australia. He was out when West Indies took over the 202 for the first four things before emerging with a tubigrip and tying his bowling arm. He looked fine on a first four-burst, but shortly after the second new ball he sent six more deliveries that were late and forced his exit.
Thereafter, Bonner was able to trust his defense. And although he lost Jason Holder early, who edged Stokes for 45 when caught between the start and play, it meant the Jamaican No.4 could also trust those who were thought to be less capable in order.
After a two-hour 73 position with wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva was finally broken by Leach lbw, only Alzarri Joseph failed to redeem Bonner at No.8, out for two attempts to snag Overton at the middle of an easily telegraphed bumper plane. However, the more experienced Kemar Roach was not so wasteful, enduring hand and body blows on an 89-ball 15 and driving Root for four to take the West Indies ahead when they reached the tea on 322 for sept.
Even after Roach and Bonner were separated, the No. 9 pulled out of the back of the net by substitute Ollie Pope, came on Veerasammy Permaul to offer 87 balls of resistance for an unbeaten 26. Both tailenders had taken their lead on Bonner , an orthodox right-hander who, moments after tea, swept Leach for four to advance to a hard-earned century from 257 deliveries.
The show’s persistence matched its history as a whole, with Bonner having played a few forgettable Twenty20 internationals over a decade ago and then nearly giving up a professional career in 2018 when the runs proved so elusive while playing for the Leeward Islands.
He briefly moved to Houston, Texas to work in construction before deciding to return to his native island of Jamaica for one last chance. And something clicked: Bonner blasted his way into the 2020 Tour of England with two centuries and an average of 58 in the four-day regional competition that preceded it.
Scores of 86 and 90 in his first round in Bangladesh 12 months ago were followed by a first century of testing at this ground that year; Bonner’s first-class average of 28.8 entering this series was therefore misleading.
The same cannot be said for England’s fast and medium bowlers and the potential loss of Wood to that new elbow injury could now mean Saqib Mahmood will make his Test debut in Barbados next week.
There will be no SOS dispatches to Anderson and Broad, however, neither are on the list of bowlers waiting at home. England, whose batsmen should look forward to day four, seem determined to do it the hard way.