WI vs ENG: Brathwaite heads inspiring Windies rally as visitors take innings lead

Ending his runs rut, Bajan cricketer Kraigg Brathwaite put some energy into the West Indies’ charge for the innings lead in day three of the first test against England on Friday. (Photo: Twitter @WindiesCricket)

Kraigg Brathwaite struck his first half-century in 22 innings to end a poor run of form as West Indies made a strong reply on the pivotal third day of the opening Test against England here Friday.

At lunch, West Indies had reached 159 for three with Shamarh Brooks unbeaten on 27 and Roston Chase on 13.

The tourists trail by 45 runs heading into the second session at the Ageas Bowl, with the lead now firmly in their sights.

West Indies owed much of their enterprise to Brathwaite, whose 18th Test half-century required 125 balls in slightly over three hours at the crease and included six fours.

Resuming on 20, the Barbadian extended his second wicket stand with Shai Hope (16) to 59 to frustrate England’s hopes of an early breakthrough.

In fact, West Indies safely navigated the first hour before losing Hope three deliveries after the drinks break when he edged off-spinner Dom Bess to captain Ben Stokes at first slip.

Brathwaite then put on a further 38 for the third wicket with Brooks before perishing with lunch in sight, lbw to seamer Stokes about 25 minutes before the interval.

England were dismissed for 204 on Thursday’s second day with captain Jason Holder snaring career-best figures of six for 42.

The West Indies, now at tea, sits comfortably at 242 for five, leading by 38 runs.