MX23RW : Thursday, February 21 04:22:02

England stretch lead over West Indies despite early stutter

England stretch lead over West Indies despite early stutter
© Reuters
England reached lunch on 108 for two, a lead of 231.

England stretched their lead to 231 on day three of the third Test against the West Indies, but not before further failures for openers Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings.

Building on Mark Wood's inspired display of pace bowling, England resumed 142 ahead with all 10 wickets intact and reached lunch on 108 for two.

Hopes of a sturdy opening stand disappeared instantly, Burns gently flicking Keemo Paul's first ball of the day to square leg. That lowered his average to exactly 25 from six Test appearances, though he is likely to get further chances at home in the summer.

Keemo Paul celebrates dismissing Rory Burns
Keemo Paul celebrates dismissing Rory Burns (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

The same is probably not true of Jennings, who clung on for 99 balls and 23 runs but never looked at ease and was ultimately bowled in ugly, slightly unfortunate fashion after Alzarri Joseph's delivery took a detour off his thigh paid.

He averages 0.19 more than Burns from 17 caps, and has two centuries to his name, but at present he does not have the confidence or tempo to continue at this level.

The West Indies should also have sent the third member of England's top three back cheaply but Joe Denly was badly dropped on 12, fending Shannon Gabriel to third slip off the shoulder of the bat only for Shimron Hetmyer to bungle the chance.

Joe Denly struggles to pick up a Kemar Roach delivery
Joe Denly struggles to pick up a Kemar Roach delivery (Ricardo Mazalan/AP)

Denly began to settle after that, unfurling a series of confident drives and picking up six boundaries as he reached 45 not out in 68 deliveries.

He was joined by captain Joe Root, who has also had a rough series but looked in good rhythm for his 18 not out at the break.

The hosts were one bowler down for most of the session, Paul departing on a stretcher after straining his right quadricep chasing a Denly cover drive.

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England bowler Mark Wood celebrates taking a wicket during the third Test against West Indies on February 10, 2019
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