LONDON (AP) — Fourteen wickets fell on the first day, giving the series-deciding third test between England and West Indies the feel of a lottery at Lord’s on Thursday.
West Indies was 123 all out in its first innings and England 46-4 in reply as the batsmen floundered on a pitch that initially appeared good enough for the West Indians to opt to bat on first.
But a day that started in bright sunshine became overcast and showery, and the quick bowlers took advantage.
Ben Stokes took 6-22 for England in a sizzling spell of swing bowling to dent West Indies’ hopes of a first series win in England since 1988 and the era of Viv Richards.
Although it appeared West Indies was heading for an embarrassment similar to the innings defeat in the first test, the touring fast bowlers replied in kind.
Captain Jason Holder and Kemar Roach had two wickets each as England lost Mark Stoneman (1), Alastair Cook (10), Tom Westley (8) and, crucially, captain Joe Root (1) before stumps were called early for bad light.
The procession of wickets left England trailing by 77 runs with six wickets left, and facing a scrap in its last test before the Ashes in Australia at the end of the year.
James Anderson took two wickets in a rain-shortened first session to move to 499 career test wickets and one shy of becoming just the sixth player to 500.
But he wasn’t given a chance after lunch as Stokes ripped through the West Indies lineup.
Stokes removed six of the last seven batsmen, and his first strike started a collapse of 7-55 by the tourists. Swinging the ball both ways, he was near-unplayable in his 14.3 overs, epitomized by deliveries that bowled Roston Chase and Jason Holder and gave them no chance.
Toby Roland-Jones, recalled by England at his home ground, contributed 2-32.
West Indies’ quicks found just as much help from the Lord’s pitch, which was hosting a test in September for the first time. Never has the home of cricket had a test this late in the English summer.
Kemar Roach generated movement away from the batsmen to have Stoneman and Cook caught behind by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich.
Holder trapped Westley lbw and cramped Root for space to get the England skipper to edge to first slip. That was the wicket West Indies really wanted and it sparked raucous celebrations.
Dawid Malan and Ben Stokes, both 13 not out, took England to an early stumps.