Mahmood desperate to be the main man

Joe Root

Saqib Mahmood is confident he can rise to the occasion and be the bowler that can swing things in England’s favour on the fifth day of the second Test against West Indies (Draw 1/9, England 13/2, West Indies 33/1 – Match Betting).

The tourists were made to work hard in the field once again by the West Indies, with captain Kraigg Brathwaite leading from the front as he continued to resist Joe Root’s (pictured) attack.

Although he wasn’t batting aggressively, the 29-year-old patiently kept his side at the crease, batting them to safety, facing 489 balls before he has finally dismissed for 160.

Brathwaite was supported down the order by Alzarri Joseph (19), Jason Holder (12) and Joshua Da Silva (33), but when he was finally out with the score at 385-7, England wrapped up the innings quickly with the Windies all out for 411, a first-innings deficit of 96 runs.

Openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley (Lees 8/11, Crawley 11/10 – Innings 3 Next Man Market 41) took England through to the close at 40-0, a lead of 136 runs, off 15 overs and with the draw looking the most likely, a positive result for either side is likely to depend on how aggressive Root will be with a declaration on the final day.

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Even then, with England having taken 187.5 overs to take 10 wickets the first time round, a victory remains unlikely, particularly with the touring bowlers having little time to fully recover from their exertions.

Mahmood, who took 2-58 in West Indies’ first innings, remains undaunted though and is determined to be the man Root can count on to force a win.

“I’ve got my head around putting the bowling boots back on and trying to take another 10 wickets,” Mahmood said. “It would be amazing to do it. If we can do that, we’ll have forgotten about all that hard graft in the first innings.

“It would mean a hell of a lot for all of us, and for me personally. This is the kind of day you play for, when there’s nothing going on, and it’s hard work for bowlers. You want to be the guy the captain throws the ball to.

“On green seamers, every seamer feels in the game, but on pitches like this, I really want to be a guy who can stand up. Can you run through a team on that wicket? No, but pressure can do funny things to people.”

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