England struggle to decide third Test against West Indies in Grenada

England were in danger of wasting their hard work in the West Indies after collapsing to 114-for-eight in the series decider.

After racing in draws in Antigua and Barbados, the tourists wasted their first leg in Grenada after being sent off.

The lifeless nature of the pitches in the opening two matches had frustrated England, but against a livelier surface their striker proved insufficient in this third Test.

Local captain Kraigg Brathwaite was brave enough to trust his bowlers after winning the toss and his gamble paid off as an ironclad attack made the most of a practice move that exposed some frailties familiar.

Fly-half Alex Lees was the only member of the front seven to hit double figures with 31, while captain Joe Root’s dismissal for a duck proved a hammer blow.

Things went from bad to worse after lunch, with Ben Stokes, Lees and Jonny Bairstow falling in the space of 10 balls without a run being scored.

The day had started undramatically, with Lees and Zak Crawley wiping out just under an hour as they clung to the new ball.

Kyle Mayers, right, celebrates Zak Crawley’s wicket (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

The lack of early chances may have plagued Brathwaite, but the introduction of the versatile Kyle Mayers, recalled here in place of spinner Veerasammy Permaul, spared him further recriminations.

Settling in at a modest pace of around 75 mph, he capitalized on Crawley’s cravings for a cover drive, with his first attempt lobbing gently into the hands of the receiver in front of the spot.

Mayers followed with the big wicket from Root, playing in the danger zone outside the stump and getting past Josh Da Silva. He signed after five overs, having yet to concede a run.

Kyle Mayer
Kyle Mayers captured the price wicket from Joe Root (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

A third wicket just before the break made it the session for the Windies, with Jayden Seales coming back into the attack to pin Dan Lawrence in front of the leg stump.

Picking up the 46 for three, England badly needed a period of stability but instead plunged themselves into even bigger trouble.

Hopes of a bailout from Ben Stokes crumbled when an attempted pull collapsed on its top edge and sailed straight for Alzarri Joseph as he followed.

Grenada England West Indies Cricket
Ben Stokes fell obediently to Alzarri Joseph (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

Joseph, working on a steam header as he smashed through the 90mph barrier, also punched in his next as Jonny Bairstow notched a delivery that held his line.

Lees had fallen between the pair, surviving just a loud shout to be caught behind before a clear advantage settled into Da Silva’s gloves.

West Indies didn’t allow the intensity to dip, with Seales thundering and sending Ben Foakes back through the door. His reaction seemed to suggest a weak rebound, but it was a convenient sewing move that undermined his defense.

Craig Overton went the same way, Kemar Roach creating an echo of the Seales wicket, but his 14 had at least broken the single-digit scoring streak.

Chris Woakes survived a few airy puffs to guide England past the modest 100 mark, making an unbeaten 25 by tea as Jack Leach provided solid support.

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