Birmingham, England (AP) — Alastair Cook’s 243 carried England to 514-8 declared against the West Indies and a powerful position on Day 2 of the day-night test on Friday.
West Indies was 44-1 in reply when rain ended play early and saved the tourists from having to face a full final session under the floodlights at Edgbaston.
West Indies are still a long way behind in the series opener, trailing by 470 runs and already a man down. Kraigg Brathwaite fell for a duck to James Anderson, caught behind by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
For England, Cook made his third-highest test score, fourth double-century, and passed 11,500 career runs in a performance that underlined the former captain’s lasting value to the team.
He batted through England’s first innings, sharing partnerships of 248 with skipper Joe Root (136) on Day 1, and 162 with Dawid Malan (65).
England had a mini-collapse in the second session after Malan’s departure as the struggling West Indies took five wickets for 65 in the best period of a difficult test so far for the visitors.
That meant England’s dangerous allrounders didn’t have a major impact on the total as Ben Stokes (10), Bairstow (18), and Moeen Ali (0) all went relatively cheaply.
But Cook was magnificent, hitting 33 fours before finally falling lbw to offspinner Roston Chase after a successful video review by the West Indies.
Cook’s dismissal brought England’s declaration, giving them the chance to bowl at the West Indies top order in the tricky twilight period that often sees wickets fall in day-night tests. Only the rain, which had been threatening for a while, denied England the opportunity and meant an early stumps.
Cook, who was replaced as captain this year, showed his immense worth as a batsman alone and had his career-best score of 294 in sight. That also came at Edgbaston, against India in 2011.
Malan’s fluent knock also brought some relief for England, who have tried a number of top-order batsmen this summer with the Ashes in Australia at the end of the year in mind.
Most of them have struggled to establish themselves, including fellow newcomers Mark Stoneman and Tom Westley in this test, but Malan now has a half-century in his third test.
West Indies’ only glimmer of joy came at the end of the innings, starting with Malan edging Chase to Jermaine Blackwood at slip in the last act of the first session. Chase followed up with the wickets of Stokes, Ali, and Cook for his 4-113, but all it did was limit the damage.
Kyle Hope was 25 not out on his debut in the West Indies reply and Kieran Powell was 18 not out, but both had already survived chances.
Powell was dropped on 2 by Stokes in the gully off Stuart Broad. West Indies would have been 8-2 if Stokes held the high chance to his right.
And Hope, living dangerously in his first innings in test cricket, sent an edge just past Ali at third slip. He also hit four fours.