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25-Mar-2022 02:29:00 GMT
WI vs Eng - 3rd Test, Grenada, day 1

Leach, Mahmood add 90 for last wicket

England 204 (Mahmood 49, Leach 41*, Seales 3-40) vs West Indies

Grenada: Jack Leach and Saqib Mahmood were England's unlikely saviours after the tourists' top order collapsed on day one of the decisive third Test against West Indies.

Having been asked to bat first on a lively pitch, England crumbled to 114-9 before Leach and Mahmood shared a crucial last-wicket partnership of 90 in Grenada.

Mahmood was bowled in the final over of the day for 49, his highest score in professional cricket, but not before he and Leach had dragged England to 204.

That represents an admirable recovery from England, who were facing being dismissed below 100 when they fell from 23-0 to 90-8 earlier in the day.

Captain Joe Root was caught behind for a duck in the morning session while three wickets fell for no runs in an abject spell after lunch - England unable to deal with the movement found by West Indies' pace attack.

But as the ball softened and pitch flattened out, Leach, who finished 41 not out, stoutly stopped the procession of wickets before he and Mahmood added valuable runs, including one fine Mahmood six.

Despite the Leach-Mahmood stand, the fact England's batters failed at the first sign of seam movement is of significant concern.

In the first session Crawley hit a loose drive to extra cover for seven, Root nicked behind and Dan Lawrence was trapped in front by Jayden Seales - the first of three wickets for the impressive seamer.

Trundling seam-bowling all-rounder Mayers took two wickets for no runs in his first five-over spell, justifying his selection over spinner Veerasammy Permaul.

England played and missed throughout the first two hours and, in truth, could easily have been further in the mire.

After lunch the tourists slumped further when Ben Stokes miscued a pull back to bowler Alzarri Joseph for two, Jonny Bairstow nicked behind to wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva for a duck and opener Alex Lees, who had survived 96 balls for 31, fell in the same fashion to Kemar Roach.

All three wickets fell with the score on 53. When Foakes was bowled by Seales from a ball that nipped back, numbers two to seven in England's batting line-up had all been dismissed for single-figure scores for the first time since 1951.

This series is being billed as the start of England's "red-ball reset". The period before Leach and Mahmood's stand was all too familiar. They are fortunate it was not terminal for their hopes.

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