England vs West Indies: Jason Holder leads from the front, with ball and DRS
On a damp and overcast day at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, West Indies captain Jason Holder, who finished with a career-best haul of 6/42, led from the front to ensure England never made much headway. Shannon Gabriel's four-wicket burst meant the hosts would get bundled out for just 204.
As Holder led his team off the field on Thursday afternoon, what would have also pleased the World’s No.1 Test all-rounder was the manner in which he managed to nail the reviews at crucial junctures in England’s innings. Since this match is being played under the shadow of the pandemic, the absence of neutral umpires has been compensated by allowing teams three unsuccessful reviews per innings. To put things in perspective, there were three big appeals from West Indies on the second day, all given not out by on-field umpires Richard Illingworth and Richard Kettleborough, and all successfully overturned by Holder.
Here are those three crucial moments in the day’s play:
1. In the morning session, Gabriel was in the midst of a probing spell. He had castled opener Dom Sibley and No.3 batsman Joe Denly with vicious inswingers. Up against a resilient Rory Burns, Gabriel enticed him with a series of out-swingers from around the wicket. It prompted Burns to shuffle across the stumps. Just then, Gabriel landed the killer blow — an inswinging yorker speared into Burns’ pads. At first glance, it looked like missing leg stump. But Gabriel and Holder were certain it was on line. DRS taken, Hawk-Eye said it would have dismantled the leg stump.
2. Holder was tormenting England’s No.4 batsman Zak Crawley with nagging outswingers. And just like Gabriel, Holder got one to hold its line. Crawley got hit on the pads, but was given not out. There looked like an inside edge. But Holder called for a review almost immediately. The West Indies captain was vindicated as the impact was in line and the contentious sound was Crawley's bat hitting the pad.
3. Holder bowled an inswinger to Jofra Archer that wrapped him on the pads. Yet again, at first glance it looked like missing leg stump. Umpire Kettleborough rejected the appeal, partly because Holder had delivered the ball from wide off the stumps. But West Indies took the review nevertheless, and the ball-tracking technology showed it would have crashed into leg stump.
West Indies pacers used the conditions perfectly to rout England for a below-par score. However, it was their captain’s excellent use of the DRS that proved to be the defining aspect of the second day’s play.