Leeds, England (AP) — England wrestled control of the second test away from the West Indies late on the fourth day on Monday, declaring their second innings on 490-8 and setting the tourists a tough target of 322 to win.
England earned their supremacy — and a chance at a second straight series victory of the summer — through half-centuries by captain Joe Root (72), Dawid Malan (61), Ben Stokes (58), Moeen Ali (84) and Chris Woakes (61 not out).
Although none of them went on to dominate the innings with a century, the English batsmen put together a series of partnerships to fight back from a 169-run first innings deficit, and from 94-3 early in their second innings.
They ultimately took the game away from the West Indians after tea on the fourth day.
“It was a fantastic day,” Ali said.
After being in control for the first three days, West Indies are now up against it and need the second-highest total to win a test at Headingley, and the highest since Don Bradman’s Australia team made 404-3 batting last in 1948.
West Indies were 5-0 at stumps after Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell survived six tricky overs at the end of the day, and a couple of loud England appeals.
In a sign of things to come on a wearing pitch, and illustrating the final-day challenge facing the West Indies, Ali bowled one over of spin at the very end of the day and immediately looked dangerous.
England already lead the three-match series 1-0 after victory by an innings in the first match. Another win at Leeds will mean two series wins out of two for England this summer ahead of the Ashes in Australia at the end of the year.
Root and Malan set up England’s second innings push against the West Indies with their stand of 118 for the fourth wicket, and Malan and Stokes put on 91 to continue England’s comeback.
But Ali’s fiery 84 from 93 balls down the order, with 14 fours, firmly changed the momentum of the test in the final session of the day. He put on 117 with Woakes for the eighth wicket, and Woakes and tailender Stuart Broad added another 46 before Root declared.
When Ali came to the crease, England had just lost three wickets in six overs to offspinner Roston Chase and were 327-7 and just 158 runs ahead. By the time Ali was caught trying to heave legspinner Devendra Bishoo out the ground, England’s lead was heading for 300.
West Indies, hopeful at tea of pushing for a first test victory in England since 2000, were completely demoralized at stumps.
“We let them slip away and now we have to really fight hard to save this test match,” Chase said.