England came out second best in difficult batting conditions on the opening day of the second test against the West Indies in Antigua. Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali both registered half-centuries but England's batting fragilities were evident again as they could only score 187, with only three batsmen making it past the 20 run mark. Kemar Roach continued his fine form with another four wickets and was yet again the pick of the West Indian bowlers.
West Indies won the toss and there was very little surprise when they decided to have a bowl against a low on confidence England batting line up and also a green looking wicket. West Indies were unchanged after their first test win. England brought in debutante Joe Denly and Stuart Broad in place of Keaton Jennings and Adil Rashid.
Denly didn't have the start to his test career that he will have wanted. First of all, he watched his opening batting partner Rory Burns fall for just four, as he edged a good ball to slip off the bowling of the confident Roach. He then departed himself for just six, when he toe-ended a short and wide delivery from Alzarri Joseph.
The England captain Joe Root then joined fellow Yorkshire player Bairstow in the middle however he didn't last long. He got an unplayable delivery from Joseph as the ball popped up off a length and hit the shoulder of Root's bat and into the slip cordon again. The England captain sent back to the pavilion for just seven.
Bairstow started to find the boundary regularly as he went on the counter-attack. Jos Buttler was in with him but not for long. He could only manage one before snicking off and England were four down for just 55. Bairstow looked comfortable on a difficult wicket and went to fifty just before lunch.
Ali and Foakes rebuild
The afternoon session got off to a terrible start for England as Bairstow was given out LBW on review. He made 52 before falling to Roach.
Ali joined Ben Stokes knowing that he hadn't scored a run so far in the series. He looked shaky early on but got off the mark and looked like he was ready for the fight. He lost his partner Stokes for 14, who was caught behind off the bowling of Shannon Gabriel. This brought Ben Foakes to the crease and finally, there was some stability amongst two batsmen. At 93-6, another quick wicket would have been a disaster for England but the two men dug deep and put on a 85 run partnership.
Ali was the main run scorer during the partnership, as he played more expansive shots, including hitting Roston Chase for six over cow corner. Ali reached his fifty and England reached tea at 172-6
West Indies dominate final session
Ali could only add another five runs to his score after tea. He tried to drive a length ball from Roach but could only splice it up in the air and was out for 60. Foakes made 35 but he dragged on off the bowling of Gabriel and then Sam Curran fell two balls later as England's innings was coming to an end. Gabriel bowled Jimmy Anderson for one and that was the end of the innings. England all out for a below par 187.
After watching West Indies bowl, the seamers would have been confident about getting something out of the pitch. Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell managed to see the hosts through to the close on 30/0 after 21 overs, with only one boundary being scored in that time.
England are certainly up against it and will have to bowl well tomorrow to try and get into a position where they feel confident about winning. At the moment, the West Indies are firmly in the driving seat.