'Simply outstanding': Windies bowler's 'best-ever' feat decimates England

Australian Associated Press
·4-min read
Seen here, Windies captain Jason Holder celebrates one of his six wickets against England.
Jason Holder's six-wicket haul has put the Windies in a strong position. Pic: Getty

West Indies captain Jason Holder has created history after an incredible exhibition of bowling destroyed England on day two of the first Test.

Holder landed the first significant blow in the battle of the all-rounders, claiming 6-42 to put Ben Stokes' England under serious pressure.

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With regular captain Joe Root watching from home with his new baby the home side were bowled out by the West Indies for 204 in tricky conditions that must have made Stokes question the wisdom of his decision to bat first at the Ageas Bowl.

While the heavy grey clouds and permanent floodlights did not help, Holder and Shannon Gabriel, who took 4-62, exploited them wonderfully before the tourists reached 1-57 when bad light stopped play.

Stokes top-scored with 43 but even that effort required two drops in the outfield. England are still in the game, but now boast a fragile lead of 147.

A rain-affected start to the series meant England resumed on 1-35 and they never managed to get their noses in front as their first innings was wrapped up in 67.3 overs.

Gabriel, who claimed the only success of day one, gave the Windies a perfect start with two more early breakthroughs in the morning session.

His first was Joe Denly, who was clean bowled between bat and pad followed by the wicket of Rory Burns, who had looked solid for 30 before playing across a fast yorker that was destined for leg stump.

From there on it was all about Holder, not just the world's No.1 all-rounder ahead of Stokes but also the highest placed bowler on show at No.3.

Holder’s figures of 6-42 are the best by a West Indies captain in their proud Test cricket history.

Holder also has the best bowling average of any quick over the last two years, having taken 55 Test wickets at 14.05 since the start of 2018.

Holder masterclass stuns England

He opened his account with the wicket of Zak Crawley after umpire Richard Kettleborough rejected the LBW appeal before replays overruled him.

He sustained back-to-back boundaries off new man Ollie Pope but was quick to respond, drawing a loose prod in the channel and having the Surrey batsman caught for 12.

England's lunch score of 5-106 would have been worse had Kemar Roach held a tough chance at fine leg off Stokes' top-edge but the ball slipped loose.

For a spell after lunch that looked to be a costly miss, as Stokes and Jos Buttler made a dashing stand of 67.

There was a second life for Stokes on 32 - put down horribly by Shamarh Brooks at short cover - but also a series of sweet strokes.

Pictured here, Ben Stokes in action for England against the West Indies.
Ben Stokes was England's top scorer with 43. Pic: Getty

Both launched Gabriel to the cover-point boundary in the first over of the session, the first of several to follow.

It was Holder whose guile and subtle movement ended the counter-attack, Stokes nicking behind after compulsively advancing down the pitch.

Just seven balls later, Buttler (35) was brilliantly held one-handed by Dowrich.

He made it five when Jofra Archer was lbw for a duck, DRS to the rescue for the third time, and Wood was caught at gully to make it six.

Dom Bess (31no) led a useful last-wicket stand of 30 before Gabriel sent James Anderson packing.

The West Indies' post-tea response was split in two, a seven-over burst before bad light and a second lasting 12.3 overs.

There was an extended battle of wills between Anderson and John Campbell, with Richard Illingworth giving the left-hander lbw on 12, 24 and 28.

Only the latter decision stuck - Campbell successfully taking his side's tally of successful reviews to five for the day - with Anderson finally ending a 47 run stand with Kraigg Brathwaite.

with Yahoo Sport staff