Kyle Mayers was the unlikely destroyer of England’s second innings with a first-ever five-wicket haul to bring the West Indies to the brink of a series win on the third day of Saturday’s third and final Test. After Joshua da Silva’s maiden Test century extended the home side’s first innings to 297 for a 93-run lead throughout the morning session, Mayers produced the astonishing numbers of five for nine from 13 overs as England went to the end of the game to 103 for eight tumbled. play. It leaves the tourists in a hopeless position of just 10 runs ahead with just two wickets in hand and two days to play.
Whether overnight batsmen Chris Woakes and Jack Leach can put up any sort of meaningful resistance on the fourth morning along with last man Saqib Mahmood, as has been the pattern so far in this test match, remains to be seen.
“Today wasn’t right, but a lot of what we did in the first two tests was really good and the team did a great job, so let’s not just judge today that it doesn’t work,” England said. trainer Marcus Trescothick.
The harrowing experience of that day’s play, however, was a stark reminder that the demons of a bottomless Ashes campaign are far from being exorcised from the English ranks.
After making his mark in the first innings with the first two wickets of the match on Thursday, Mayers’ deceptively average pace was once again nearly unplayable on a surface of increasingly uneven bounce.
As on the first day, he took on England captain Joe Root before adding Dan Lawrence and all-rounder Ben Stokes in quick succession to stagger the visitors 39 for four by mid-afternoon.
Opening batsman Alex Lees and Jonny Bairstow offered the only respite in a partnership of 41, but when Bairstow knocked out an attempt by Alzarri Joseph at wicketkeeper da Silva, it was the trigger for the match’s first collapse after tea as four wickets fell for 21 runs.
Ben Foakes was knocked out by a throw from Mayers from the bottom to da Silva who came back for a second run and Mayers scattered the patient’s stumps Read for a top score of 31 before Craig Overton flied out to Jason Holder’s right on the second slip .
“I think the key was getting the batsmen to play as much as possible because of the variable nature of the surface and the straighter deliveries definitely worked for me,” Mayers said.
Seales, who played his part in a 52-run last-wicket tie with da Silva in the morning session, broke through early on as Crawley drove for a full delivery and Holder seemed to surprise himself by holding onto the sizzling second place shot. . slip.
This all-too-familiar capitulation only worsened England’s mood.
The thought of a quick final in the first innings of the West Indies, when Kemar Roach fell to Mahmood, resumed at 232 for eight and was extinguished by the resistance of Jayden Seales.
Guided by the partnership by his fellow Trinidadian, Seales was able to honorably cope with the deliveries he had to endure, to the extent of hitting a four and a six to get to 13 of 59 deliveries.
His eventual demise came as the culmination of a period of celebration, chaos and confusion as the determined da Silva slid to three figures, despite the negative leg-side tactics of the English bowlers.
His improvisation in response proved so effective that he then accelerated from 80s to the coveted century by beating a succession of boundaries of left arm spinner Leach and fast medium bowler Overton.
His tenth boundary, played as a two-fisted forehand to the halfway point, caused celebrations by da Silva and Seales as the 23-year-old enjoyed his first hundred in Test Cricket.
He was then dealt out behind Overton and although he reconsidered the decision, da Silva was almost in the players’ locker room when televised replays confirmed he wasn’t out and returned rather sheepishly to the middle followed by the increasingly disgruntled English players.
They didn’t have much longer to wait for the end of the innings, but Seales fell over bowled by Root in the next, leaving da Silva unbeaten in a nearly six-hour effort that saw him make 257 deliveries.
“I can’t even explain what it means to get this hundred,” was da Silva’s response to his attempt.
“I got 92 in Bangladesh a year ago and was devastated that I had to miss it, so to get a hundred here — it’s a dream come true.”
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