Anderson gives England scent of victory

James Anderson featured in all six dismissals as the West Indies crashed to 286 for eight at lunch on the final day of the second Test against England at the National Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

The home side will go into the penultimate session ahead by 121 runs with captain Denesh Ramdin and Devendra Bishoo battling to defy the tourists who were reinvigorated by the exploits of their most successful Test bowler.

Anderson, who went past Ian Botham as England’s highest wicket-taker ever during the first Test, put his team on course to make amends for being held to a draw in Antigua as he struck three vital blows almost immediately after the second new ball was taken on the fifth morning.

Resuming in apparent comfort at 202 for two, and with the odds in their favour of ensuring a draw on a placid pitch, the West Indies’ innings of solid defiance was transformed into a panic-stricken capitulation the moment Anderson removed Kraigg Brathwaite for 116 to a catch by Joe Root.

That breakthrough cut short a third-wicket partnership with Marlon Samuels that had realised 79 runs and the demise of the gritty opening batsman triggered a slide with six wickets tumbling for 58 runs.

Energised by the breakthrough, Anderson belied the batsman-friendly conditions to claim two more vital wickets.

Veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul completed a poor match when he edged the seamer to Ian Bell at second slip and skipper Alastair Cook showed superb reflexes to dive full length from first slip and snare the rebound millimetres from the turf.

Samuels was eventually undone by the 34-year-old Anderson, edging a delivery to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler for 37 to turn hopes of victory for England into a distinct possibility.

Even with the conclusion of his incisive spell of bowling, Anderson would not be kept out of the game, taking catches at mid-off to get rid of Jermaine Blackwood and Kemar Roach.

But he saved his most spectacular bit of work in the field to get rid of the man who had frustrated England’s quest for victory at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium a week earlier.

A moment’s indecision at the crease with Ramdin was enough to cost Jason Holder his wicket as Anderson threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end with a direct hit, leaving the first Test century-maker disconsolate at the realisation that his departure had probably paved the way to an England win.

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