England struggle after Holder double strike

BARBADOS: England suffered early setbacks in reaching 71 for three at lunch on the opening day of the third and final Test against the West Indies at Kensington Oval on Friday.


Skipper Alastair Cook, who won the toss, will resume following the interval on 31 in partnership with the in-form Joe Root (19 not out) after coming together with their side labouring at 38 for three.

Jason Holder dispelled doubts about his fitness with two important wickets after opening bowler Jerome Taylor exploited Jonathan Trott´s vulnerability to fast, short-pitched bowling.

Stretchered off the field on the last day of the second Test in Grenada a week earlier when he appeared to turn over his left ankle badly while bowling, Holder showed no ill effects of that injury.

Playing on his home ground, the tall fast-medium bowler uprooted Gary Ballance´s middle-stump and then induced an indeterminate prod from new batsman Ian Bell with a slower delivery to take a sharp catch off his own bowling before the prolific right-hander had scored.

Trott, who has endured a wretched run since returning to the England side in this series after 17 months out of the international game, fended at a lifting delivery from pacer Shannon Gabriel for Veerasammy Permaul to dive forward and take a catch at forward short-leg.

It was Trott´s third “duck” in five innings and heightens concerns about his ability to cope with what are expected to be much tougher challenges from New Zealand and Australia in the upcoming English summer.

All-rounder Ben Stokes passed a late fitness test to leave the visitors unchanged from the team that won the second Test by nine wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series and guarantee retention of the Wisden Trophy.

In contrast, the West Indies made three changes, including giving a debut to 21-year-old Barbadian batsman Shai Hope who replaced opener Devon Smith.

Taylor´s return to the side came at the expense of fellow fast bowler Kemar Roach while Permaul, who took 67 wickets in the domestic season, replaced fellow-Guyanese Devendra Bishoo as the specialist spinner.

Bishoo was ruled out because of a cut sustained to a finger on his bowling hand in the latter stages of the match in Grenada, during which he bowled 59 overs.