England strikes back to level the series against West Indies

The second Test between England and West Indies will be a talking point for a long time to come. It saw the English secure an emphatic win to level the series despite the Old Trafford weather not playing its part.

England's Ollie Pope (right) stretches out to make a catch to dismiss West Indies' Kemar Roach off the bowling of England's Dom Bess. Credit: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The second Test between England and West Indies will be a talking point for a while to come. Not only was it the continuation of live cricket, but it also saw the English fight back to level the series 1-1 despite the Old Trafford weather threatening to intervene.

Day one of the second Test saw West Indies captain Jason Holder, after winning the opening Test, choose to bowl – putting the English in to bat on a relatively even pitch at Old Trafford. But what followed for the rest of day one and nearly all of day two, was domination by the English batsmen.

After Dom Sibley made 120, vice-captain Ben Stokes made 176 and Joss Buttler made a quick 40 off 79 balls, Joe Root declared at 469/9; the only shining light from the visitors were the five wickets from Roston Chase.

Near the end of day two, the Windies were in to bat. England, backing their declaration, added to the pressure on the West Indies taking the wicket of John Campbell for a mere 12 runs. The Windies ended day two on 32/1 – trailing by 437 runs.

But then came the rain and it was not going anywhere. Despite the batting prowess shown by the English, despite the Windies losing a key-man in Campbell, Root and his side would never get the chance to capitalise. Day three was rained out.

Day four saw Kraigg Brathwaite and Alzarri Joseph build somewhat of a partnership – the latter going on to 75 important runs as the Windies avoided the follow on. Not many more runs were scored by the visitors before being bowled out for 287; Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes both took three wickets putting England in a strong position.

Opening with Buttler and Stokes, the English looked to make quick runs and give themselves enough time to bowl out the Windies. But it did not go as planned – before they knew it Buttler lost his wicket for no runs after just three balls. In came Zak Crawley, and out went Zak Crawley – for 11.

The leading pair, Root and Stokes, ended day four settling things down, slowly building the lead. Day five arrived with the world expecting a big day – and both sides did not disappoint.

It all started with Stokes and Root at the crease – Root eventually sacrificed his wicket trying to get Stokes on strike. Despite losing his own wicket, bringing in Olly Pope, the loss of Root saw Stokes gear up and make 75 runs off 57 balls. This allowed the English to declare – yet again – and send the Windies in to bat, chasing 311 runs.

It was no dream start for the visitors losing John Campbell, Brathwaite, Shai Hope and Roston Chase for only 37 runs – Broad took three of the first four wickets, with Woakes removing Brathwaite for 12. The onslaught settled, to an extent, with Sharmarh Brooks and Jermaine Blackwood scoring 100 runs before Stokes and Buttler teamed up to dismiss Blackwood for 55.

After Tea, Dowrich fell after just three balls bringing in captain Holder to hold the fort down. Holder and Brooks held on well but Sam Curran was having none of it. The left-arm medium-pacer came around the wicket and trapped Brooks at the crease – he walked off making 62.

Holder fought hard but ultimately was not good enough, falling for 35 to the bowling of Dom Bess. Joseph did not last much longer and after 66 overs the Windies were 192/9.

At drinks on day five, England needed just one wicket to keep the series alive. The West Indies had Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel at the crease – 198/9. Right after tea – Bess did it again. With a great catch from Olly Pope, the English removed Roach and levelled the series.

Bess finished with figures of 2 for 30 with the returning Stuart Broad taking 3 for 42 runs. Brooks top-scored for the Windies with a valiant 62 runs, with the invincible Stokes scored 176 and 75, taking one wicket in the first and two in the second innings.