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Gary Ballance and Joe Root rally to save day for England

By Staff Reporter

Published 16/04/2015

Gary Ballance and Joe Root battled back from another top-order wobble as England built an imposing 220-run lead on day three of the first Test in Antigua.

The West Indies were bowled out for 295 in the afternoon - surrendering a 104-run deficit - but grabbed three early wickets with the new ball to force their way into contention.

Further inroads would have left England approaching the penultimate day with apprehension, but Ballance and Root shared an unbroken stand of 64 to leave their side 116 for three at the close.

On an entertaining, and often evenly matched day at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, James Tredwell's four wickets for 47 runs and Jermaine Blackwood's maiden Test century were the individual highlights.

James Anderson took one more wicket to move to within just one of Sir Ian Botham's record 383 Test scalps .

Then, despite the comfort of a three-figure lead, England openers Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook failed for the second time in the match, although it would be churlish to deny Jerome Taylor's role in their downfall.

He sent down a fine new ball spell, beating Trott's outside edge in his first over and clipping it with a full, swinging delivery at the end of his third. Cook was gone just four balls later.

Ian Bell, on the back of a fine 143, had quite a torrid time. He was run out for 11, sent back by his partner having scampered halfway down the track.

But the final hour was England's - Ballance finding his feet after drinks with three boundaries in 11 balls and Root scoring confidently off the spin of Sulieman Benn and Marlon Samuels.

By the time stumps were taken the pair were timing the ball nicely and sitting on a vital 64-run stand.

Belfast Telegraph

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