James Anderson accepted England are “up against it” after ending day three of the first #raisethebat Test 99 runs adrift of the West Indies.
The tourists established a sizeable lead of 114 after posting a first-innings score of 318, though England’s openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley nudged that down into double figures during a tense 10-over spell against the new ball before stumps.
Clearing the rest of the deficit and setting a match-winning chase is sure to be a tricky task against a high-class Windies bowling attack, but Anderson combined realism with optimism as he assessed the home side’s chances.
“The West Indies have had the best of the first few days certainly, we are up against it,” he said.
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“But we know exactly what we’ve got to do. If we bat well tomorrow and get a decent lead, get a bit ahead, we can give ourselves a chance of bowling them out in the fourth innings of the game.
“It hasn’t been our best performance with bat or ball these last few days, so we’ve got work to do in the next couple.
“We’ll need a little bit of luck. We don’t want it [the pitch] to deteriorate too much tomorrow obviously and then on the final it can do as much as it wants.”
Anderson claimed 3-62 in a typically reliable stint, while first-time captain Ben Stokes stepped up with his best Test figures for two years of 4-49.
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Great expectations for the all-out pace of Mark Wood and Jofra Archer failed to be met, the 44 overs of effort from the pair yielding only a number 11 scalp in Shannon Gabriel, who Wood bowled to end the Windies innings.
Anderson praised skipper Stokes’ contribution, adding: “Ben did a brilliant job. There were some decent miles in the legs of me, Jof and Woody so when he got those wickets at the end it was crucial.
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