ICC Test Championship | Holder, Gabriel rout England in first innings

West Indian captain Jason Holder led from the front and took 6 for 46 and Shannon Gabriel backed him to take 4 for 62 to dismiss England for 204 on day 2 of the first Test in Southampton on Thursday.

England captain Ben Stokes was the top scorer with 43. Jos Buttler chipped in with 35 and Bess with 31.

Earlier, West Indies reaped the benefits of bowling full and straight in tough conditions for batsmen as England lost four wickets to collapse to 106-5 on the second morning of the first Test at an empty Ageas Bowl on Thursday.

The decision of stand-in England captain Ben Stokes to bat first under forecast overcast skies was looking misguided as the top order struggled to deal with the pace and seam movement of Shannon Gabriel (3-38) and Jason Holder (2-24).

It could have been much worse for England, too, with Stokes dropped by a diving Kemar Roach at long leg minutes before lunch when the score was 89-5.

After England resumed on 35-1, Gabriel bowled Joe Denly for 18 and then sent another full delivery down that trapped Rory Burns (30) in front of the stumps. A not-out decision was given by the on-field umpire but that was reversed on review, with Hawk-Eye having the ball hitting leg stump.

By that stage, Gabriel had removed England’s top three for figures of 3-34.

Holder replaced his strike bowler after a five-over stint and was just as effective, despite bowling slightly shorter and slower. The captain generated enough movement to deceive Zak Crawley (10) as the batsman fell away and missed the ball, clipping his pad with his bat instead.

Again, the umpire said not out but a review again showed the ball hitting leg.

Ollie Pope hit a beautiful drive through the covers for four but was out soon after, edging Holder behind after more seam movement off a shorter ball that Pope could have left because of its height.

An almost perfect morning for West Indies, played in eerie silence because of the absence of spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, was spoiled by the spilled catch by Roach as he raced in off the boundary to reach a miscued pull by Stokes.

Stokes was unbeaten on 21 off 62 balls, and Jos Buttler was 9 not out.

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