England v West Indies: Hosts hit back to seize initiative at Headingley

England's Joe Root on his way to another half-century, this time in his side's second innings against the West Indies at Headingley on Monday. Picture: Nigel French/PA
England's Joe Root on his way to another half-century, this time in his side's second innings against the West Indies at Headingley on Monday. Picture: Nigel French/PA
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Moeen Ali’s latest match-changing contribution helped England set a mountainous target as a pulsating second Test threatened to slip through the West Indies’ fingers on day four at Headingley.

The tourists have had their noses in front for the majority of the match but fell foul of England’s deep batting reserves as Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen all followed Mark Stoneman past 50 in a collective show of strength which saw them surpass their wildest dreams to declare 321 ahead on 490-8.

Moeen’s 93-ball 84 was the largest and the most bruising of those knocks, though Sundaram Ravi’s contentious no-ball shout spared him on 32 and the West Indies added another shocking drop to their collection when Malan had the same score.

England skipper Root’s sporty declaration allowed his bowlers six overs before stumps but Kieran Powell and Kraigg Brathwaite held on for stumps at five without loss.

The Windies may wonder how they found themselves in this position having led by 169 after two innings, but spilled catches have cost them more than 200 runs and therein lies the answer.

England had added 41 to their overnight 171-3, mostly off Root’s bat as he ticked off yet another half-century, when Shannon Gabriel squeezed the England captain for room. A cramped cut flew straight to Shai Hope in the gully, where he juggled but eventually held on. Root’s 72 was another example of his consistency, having passed 50 13 times in the past 12 Tests.

England's Moeen Ali reaches his half century against West Indies at Headingley on Monday. Picture: Nigel French/PA

England's Moeen Ali reaches his half century against West Indies at Headingley on Monday. Picture: Nigel French/PA

Jason Holder took the next over and should have ended Malan’s stay with his third ball, a wide one which drew an airy stroke and a clear edge. But the entire West Indies endeavour has been compromised by their flaky fielding and, true to form, Shane Dowrich leapt in front of first slip, distracting Powell, who gdropped it.

It was a gut-punch for the cause and, while Malan only tip-toed from 32 to 40 by lunch, new man Stokes added 29 at the other end.

Their stand added 91 to the score before a drinks break snapped Stokes’ concentration and he hoisted Chase to Brathwaite at long-off for 58.

Chase then added two more wickets in short order.

England's Jonny Bairstow can only watch as the ball clatters into his stumps after a reverse sweep went wrong on Monday at Headingley. Picture: Nigel French/PA

England's Jonny Bairstow can only watch as the ball clatters into his stumps after a reverse sweep went wrong on Monday at Headingley. Picture: Nigel French/PA

Malan’s vigil ended curiously on 61, missing one that straightened off the pitch, but Jonny Bairstow topped that by butchering a reverse sweep and somehow ushering the ball into his own stumps.

It was not until the start of the final session that Moeen grabbed control.

The all-rounder leaned into some fine drives to make a 54-ball half-century.

With Woakes timing things nicely the partnership, the lead and chances of a home win increased at pace.

Chase admitted defeat in his battle with Moeen, who peppered the ropes with glee until Devendra Bishoo persuaded him to hole out 16 shy of 100.

Woakes’ 61no, in his first Test of the year, made him the sixth batsman to raise his bat in the innings before Root waved him in.

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