England are in a commanding position heading into day three of the second Test with West Indies after a Ben Stokes century lit up Thursday’s action in Barbados (England 8/11, Draw 13/10, West Indies 25/1 – Match Betting).
Stokes bullied the Windies bowling attack as he made 120 off just 128 balls and shared a century stand with captain Joe Root, who added 34 runs to his overnight total before being dismissed for 153.
The duo helped steer England beyond the 500 mark for the first time in over a year, as they eventually declared on 507-9 in their first innings.
It was certainly a batting masterclass from Stokes as he scored 89 runs in the morning session alone before bringing up his century shortly after lunch.
The 30-year-old was eventually dismissed off the bowling of Windies captain Kraigg Brathwaite, but only after he had struck 11 fours and six powerful sixes.
Cricket World Cup 2023 Betting Odds
England then started well with the ball as debutant seamer Matthew Fisher had John Campbell caught behind with just his second delivery in Test cricket.
Skipper Brathwaite (28no) and Shamarh Brooks (31no) were able to steady the ship for the hosts, who closed the day on 71-1, but they are still some 436 runs shy of England’s first innings total (Brooks 8/13, Brathwaite 5/4 – Next Man Out).
England certainly appear well placed to establish a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series, with man of the moment Stokes acknowledging it had been a good day all round and he is hopeful the tourists can take some early wickets on Friday to further underline their control (Innings 2 total runs – Over 346.5, 10/11, Under 346.5, 5/6).
“We’ve had a very good two days here. Dan Lawrence and Joe Root set it up really well for us yesterday and allowed the middle order to come in and play the way that they did,” Stokes was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“I took the option of attacking and trying to score as many runs as possible in a short period of time because the pitch might mean it’s difficult to take 20 wickets.
“But it’s amazing how much the pitch changed in the last session and a half. There were a few balls for Jack Leach which turned and bounced so it will be interesting tomorrow.”
Cricket Betting Odds