England vs West Indies 2020, 1st Test, Day 2: Report - Jason Holder's Six-For Puts The Visitors On The Driver's Seat
Jason Holder [Photo-Twitter/Wisden]

If the first day turned out like a damp squib in Southampton between England and West Indies in a much-anticipated return, the second day was a pulsating one. The foundations of West Indies’ flourishing day was built on Jason Holder’s successful use of reviews at crucial junctures. Jason Holder’s judicious use of DRS to claim three wickets might as well be the blueprint for Australian captain Tim Paine, considering how he fared with those last year in England.

Also Read: Rory Burns Becomes The First England Opener To Reach 1000 Runs Since Sir Alastair Cook In Test Cricket

Joe Denly and Rory Burns could not build much on their promising revival at the exit of Dom Sibley on day one for a duck despite Burns reaching the landmark of 1000 runs. Six overs into the day, Shannon Gabriel stung the home team by making the ball breach through the defence of Denly for 18. An over later, the Trinidadian bounced out Burns for 30 from round the wicket through one of the successful reviews. While the naked eye spelt it heading down leg, but the Hawkeye unequivocally showed to have hitting the leg-stump.

Zak Crawley played one of the most picturesque cover drives that marked the rebirth of Test cricket while stand-in-captain Ben Stokes found himself in the middle of another rescue mission. England’s top-order wobble fear came true as the scorecard read 56-3. And Jason Holder’s reputation as the underdog amongst him and Stokes might have helped him punch above his weight.

England vs West Indies 2020, 1st Test, Day 2: Report - Jason Holder's Six-For Puts The Visitors On The Driver's Seat
Jason Holder [Photo-Twitter/Test Match Special]
Coming into his 9th over, the Barbados seamer began his way to his best Test match bowling figures. After bowling a series of outswingers to Crawley, Holder seared an inswinger that thudded into the batsman’s pads. And the 28-year old could not have gone wrong in challenging the on-field decision as the ball crashed into the middle-stump.

Two overs after Ollie Pope played flamboyant strokes over the off and on-side, Holder fired an outswinger that made the batsman believe it was coming in. Jos Buttler arrived with England struggling at 87-5, joining hands with the captain and perhaps the most crucial pair. The all-rounder and keeper-batsman trudged themselves to lunch at 106-5.

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes revive England with a 67-run stand:

Post lunch, the home side elevated the scoring rate as both batsmen took Shannon Gabriel, who caused the early damage, to the sword. And just what Phil Simmons needed, Jason Holder did to Ben Stokes, 11 overs after lunch. Stokes was outsmarted out of nowhere through a fuller delivery that nipped a little bit as he came forward, the ball taking the edge to Shane Dowrich for a valiant 43. Indeed, the West Indies did not have to suffer the fate Australia did in Headingley as Kemar Roach and Shamrah Brooks handed reprieves to the skipper in the 40th and 47th over respectively.

England vs West Indies 2020, 1st Test, Day 2: Report - Jason Holder's Six-For Puts The Visitors On The Driver's Seat
Ben Stokes top score with 43. (Credits: Web)

An over later, Jos Buttler became the fourth victim of the visiting captain as the batsman prodded the ball outside off as the keeper took a flying grab. And for England, there existed no Sam Curran’s version of 2018 against India as Holder got his fifth by bouncing out Archer for a duck. The final pair of James Anderson and Dom Bess added 30 runs to take England till 204, one that could prove stiff and too much for the visitors’ fallible batting line-up.

While Holder’s six and Gabriel’s four undeniably placed the West Indies on the driver’s seat, they did not let that advantage stay short-lived. James Anderson was perfectly capable of making the brand new-cherry talk and while Stuart Broad’s absence might be felt, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer held the equal capability to wrest a mammoth lead for their side.

John Campbell and Kraigg Brathwaite neutralise England’s new-ball bowlers:

In his 152nd Test, James Anderson put on a headband, holding the ball, eyeing for a trademark inswinger to make the first breakthrough. However, John Campbell and Kraigg Brathwaite’s decisive footwork and playing with soft hands worked in their favour. If Jason Holder used his reviews prudently, John Campbell was also enjoying his strokes of luck twice with DRS, all against the prodigy James Anderson.

It was not before the final ball of the 12th over that Anderson got the breakthrough they yearned for. Campbell exited the scene for 28 as the Hawk-Eye supported Richard Illingworth’s decision, dislodging the leg-stump, breaking the opening partnership of 43. Halfway through the 20th over as West Indies held the upper hand with 57-1, bad light returned to play spoilsport once more and it was deja-vu of the opening day.

Yet, as far as the advantage of the new-ball goes, West Indies managed to take total advantage of it and did not face quite the problem without saliva bowling with the old ball either. Ben Stokes’ decision to perhaps might backfire as the forecast hold sunshine for the next three days with the hosts on the backseat. A remote advantage that England can have is that they will bat last on the Ageas Bowl deck.

Also Read: England vs West Indies 2020 – First Test, First Day Report: Rory Burns And Joe Denly Survive On A Rain-Impaired Opening Day