IPL 2015: England lead by 328 runs against West Indies in first Test

IPL 2015: England lead by 328 runs against West Indies in first Test

Playing in just his ninth Test, the Zimbabwe-born left-hander was within eight runs of his fourth hundred at the break.



By (AFP)

Published: Fri 17 Apr 2015, 9:56 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:41 PM

Gary ballance plays a shot during day four of the first Test against West Indies. — AP

Gary ballance plays a shot during day four of the first Test against West Indies. — AP

Antigua: Gary Ballance led England’s charge to an increasingly impregnable position as the tourists reached 224 for four in their second innings, a lead of 328, at lunch on the fourth day of the first Test against the West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Thursday.

Playing in just his ninth Test, the Zimbabwe-born left-hander was within eight runs of his fourth hundred at the break.

He got good support from Joe Root and Ben Stokes in continuing to dominate a deflated Caribbean bowling attack, 108 runs coming in the two hours’ play in the morning for just the loss of Root’s wicket.

It remains to be seen when England captain Alastair Cook will choose to declare the innings closed to push for victory on a pitch that is still heavily-weighted in favour of the batsmen. There are expected, though, to be greater signs of wear-and-tear going into the final day on Friday.

Ballance and Root had extended their overnight fourth-wicket partnership to 114 when the right-hander played on to fast-medium bowler Jason Holder for the second time in the match.

His knock of 59 followed a vital contribution of 81 in the first innings. In conditions tailor-made for batting, he was obviously bitterly disappointed at not being able to carry on.

Stokes, who flayed the bowling to all parts of the ground during an entertaining first innings of 79, again moved effortlessly along and will resume on 33 alongside Ballance, whose personal target of another Test century will occupy his attention for the first few minutes of the afternoon before the English batsmen step on the accelerator to play the West Indies completely out of the match.

None of the home side’s bowlers appeared threatening, and with only four specialists chosen in the final 11 - a tactic designed more to save the match than to win it - a tiring attack is expected to come under even greater pressure in the afternoon session. 


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