West Indies vs England second Test day four: Draw still looms large

England

England need a glut of quick runs and 10 West Indian wickets on the final day in Barbados as they look to turn a meandering match into a memorable win.

The first Test of the series flattened out into a lifeless draw as England fell six wickets short on day five in Antigua, and they will need to move fast and decisively to avoid the same fate in Bridgetown.

Kraigg Brathwaite produced a mammoth defensive effort to leave the tourists racing against the clock, making 160 in 11 hours and 51 minutes. After taking 489 deliveries to bowl out the home captain in the first innings, England need to get things done in a rush.

Zak Crawley and Alex Lees resume 136 ahead on 40 without loss and the impetus will be on stretching that lead as quickly as possible before declaring.

Player to watch – Jack Leach

Jack Leach will be key to England's plans again.
Jack Leach will be key to England’s plans again (Jason O’Brien/PA)

The left-arm spinner sent down an exhausting 69.5 overs in the West Indies’ first-innings, the most by an English bowler since Phil Tufnell got through 71 against New Zealand in 1992.

But while Tufnell’s heavy load came at the end of a match, Leach will have to get his bowling boots back on again sooner than he would like.

England will need him to use him as an attacking option for long periods as they push for the result so there will be no passing on of the baton. No rest for the wicked.

Declaration stations

Joe Root has a big decision to make.
Joe Root has a big decision to make (Jason O’Brien/PA)

Joe Root made what was widely considered to be a pretty sporting declaration on the final day in Antigua, inviting the Windies to chase a target of 286 in 71 overs.

If that was intended as a carrot, the opposition did not bite and instead dug in for a stalemate.

Now he needs to come up with another equation and will need to pitch it exactly right – tempting but secure.

It is never an exact science, but it is unlikely Root will get too generous and risk defeat.

Will Grenada be green?

Whatever the result here, the series will be up for grabs and very much alive in Grenada next week.

The talk among locals in Barbados is that a livelier surface is in the offing for the decider.

A smattering of live grass would be very welcome for the unloved bowlers on both sides but will it happen?

Vaccination mandates have been removed to try and encourage a full crowd and five day draws generate more revenue than three days of fast-moving entertainment. What will be on offer in the spice isle?

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