England build the foundations
England 566 for 9 dec and 148 for 3 (Trescothick 88*) lead West Indies 336 (Sarwan 139, Lara 95, Giles 4-65) by 378 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
After an eventful third day's play at Edgbaston, England were in control of the match, despite a West Indian fightback with the ball after tea. England finished with a dominating lead of 378 runs, with seven wickets in hand, thanks to an unbeaten 88 from Marcus Trescothick. Earlier, West Indies lost their last seven wickets for only 39 following a 209-run partnership between Ramnaresh Sarwan, who scored his first Test century against England, and Brian Lara, who narrowly missed out on his hundred.
If England do win this Test, they will look back on today as when they built a winning platform, starting from Ashley Giles's 4 for 65, Andrew Flintoff's two big scalps of Lara and Sarwan, and then Trescothick's assured knock towards the close. After Michael Vaughan decided not to enforce the follow-on, Jermaine Lawson did hit back with three quick wickets, but, on the whole, it was another disappointing day for West Indies.
It did, though, begin brightly for them as Sarwan and Lara started aggressively, hitting boundaries on both sides of the wicket. However, Sarwan lost Lara fairly early due to some clever and accurate bowling from Flintoff. Lara had been shaken up after losing sight of a yorker from Flintoff, and flashed at the next ball without moving his feet - and paid the price when he was caught by Graham Thorpe in the gully (221 for 3).
However, Sarwan retained his composure and in the over after Lara's dismissal, he guided James Anderson to third man for four to bring up his sixth Test hundred. However, things changed rapidly for West Indies after lunch when Sarwan chopped Flintoff onto his stumps trying to force the ball through the off side, where he had scored most of his runs, and was bowled for 139 (297 for 4).
Then the wheels came off West Indies' innings. Dwayne Bravo was again undone by Giles, playing across a flighted ball that turned sharply to beat the bat and hit off stump (323 for 5), and Ridley Jacobs soon followed him back to the pavilion, caught at slip by Trescothick off Matthew Hoggard for a duck (324 for 6).
Shortly afterwards, Shivnarine Chanderpaul brushed Giles with his gloves to be snapped up by Robert Key at silly mid-off for a dogged 45 (324 for 7), and Pedro Collins fell to an excellent one-handed reaction catch by Flintoff at leg slip for 6 (334 for 8). Omari Banks was then caught behind by Geraint Jones to give Stephen Harmison his first wicket of the innings (336 for 9), and Giles then trapped Corey Collymore lbw to wrap up the innings for 336 and complete the remarkable collapse.
Michael Vaughan decided against making West Indies bat again, which meant that England had 38 overs to face before the close. Collins and Collymore kept Trescothick and Andrew Strauss tied down early on, and Lawson replaced Collins after a short opening spell. The change immediately paid off, as in an action replay of the first innings, Lawson had Strauss caught behind reaching for a full, wide ball (24 for 1). Lawson struck again in his next over when Key chipped a simple catch to Chris Gayle at mid-on (37 for 3).
The pitch was becoming tricky to bat on, with variable bounce making it hard to score quickly. Trescothick struggled to play his natural attacking game, crawling to 20 in the first 14 overs before he cracked Lawson over midwicket for his second four to break the shackles. Vaughan brought up England's 50 with a nudge behind point for a single, but after the drinks break, he became Lawson's third victim, mistiming an attempted drive to Gayle at mid-on, who took a tumbling catch (52 for 3).
After seeing off Lawson and adjusting to the conditions, Trescothick and Thorpe started to assert their authority, with Thorpe pulling Collins through midwicket and Trescothick cracking Bravo through the covers for two fours in an over, the second of which brought up his half-century. However, West Indies should have then dismissed both batsmen, but Lara could not jump high enough to hold a difficult chance from Trescothick to slip, while Jacobs fluffed a simple one from Thorpe behind the stumps off Collins.
To add insult to injury, Thorpe then chipped Collins over midwicket for his second four, and in his next over, Trescothick slapped him through the covers to bring up England's 100, and the fifty partnership. Trescothick was beginning to find his fluency, straight-driving Bravo for another four and sweeping Banks hard to the square-leg boundary as the runs started to flow. Trescothick moved into the eighties with a six off Gayle, and Thorpe got in on the act too, pulling Banks behind square for four. Trescothick had his second century of the match in his sights, but he ran out of time this evening and will have to wait until tomorrow to reach the milestone.
England will be sure to take their lead past 400 tomorrow, and West Indies will feel that they have let the game slip away from them after their early breakthroughs. The highest fourth-innings total in any Test at Edgbaston is 277, scored by India in a losing effort way back in 1967, and West Indies face a very tough task even to force a draw from this position.