GROS-ISLET, Saint Lucia (AFP) – Mark Wood answered West Indian pace with fearsome heat of his own as the fast bowler claimed his first five-wicket innings haul in Tests and put England in control on the second day of the third and final Test in St Lucia on Sunday.
Playing his first match of the series, Wood tore through the heart of the home side’s batting to finish with five for 41 as the West Indies, replying to England’s first innings total of 277, crashed from 57 without loss in mid-afternoon to 154 all out an hour before the close of play.
A day which saw 16 wickets tumble ended with the tourists’ opening pair of Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings safely navigating 10 overs to be 19 without loss at stumps, an overall lead of 142 going into day three as they seek the consolation of victory following heavy defeats in the first two matches.
Wood’s raw speed unsettled the West Indies middle-order batsmen after Moeen Ali ended another half-century opening partnership by accounting for stand-in captain Kraigg Brathwaite and partner John Campbell off consecutive deliveries.
Ali supported Wood’s hostility at the other end with subtle variations to finish with figures of four for 36.
However it was the introduction of Wood, who came on as the fourth bowler in the England armoury, which had the greatest impact on an eventful day.
He dismissed Shai Hope and Roston Chase off successive deliveries, both taken at gully, in his opening over and added the scalp of Shimron Hetmyer, caught at the second attempt by England captain Joe Root at first slip, off the final delivery of the afternoon session.
Darren Bravo perished shortly after the resumption to another Root slip catch and the delighted fast bowler returned after some resistance from Shane Dowrich (38) to polish off the innings and complete the five-wicket haul when he yorked last man Shannon Gabriel.
“It feels fantastic. All the hard times I’ve had with injury, and the self-doubt, today I feel like an England,” said Wood.
“I feel great with this new run-up. When you get a wicket in your first over the adrenaline starts pumping.”