England captain Joe Root. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/STU FORSTER
England captain Joe Root. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/STU FORSTER

Manchester — England captain Joe Root fell cheaply on his return to international cricket after the dramatic withdrawal of Jofra Archer from the second Test against the West Indies at Old Trafford on Thursday.

In a match they have to win to square the three-match series at 1-1, England were forced to leave out Archer before Thursday’s first day after the fast bowler admitted to breaking coronavirus protocols.

Roston Chase took two wickets in two balls separated by the lunch break to leave England 29/2. Root then made 23 before he was caught in the slips off Alzarri Joseph, with England 112/3 at tea.

Dominic Sibley was 46 not out and Ben Stokes 18 not out.

West Indies’ fast bowlers were off target after captain Jason Holder won the toss under grey skies in Manchester. But on the stroke of lunch, off-spinner Chase struck with just his second ball to have Rory Burns lbw for 15, the left-handed opener compounding his dismissal with a wasted review.

And the first ball back saw England’s 29/1 become 29/2. Zak Crawley, preferred ahead of the dropped Joe Denly, fell for a golden duck when he tamely turned Chase straight to Holder at leg-slip.

Root, who missed England’s four-wicket loss in last week’s first Test at Southampton to attend the birth of his second child, survived the hat-trick. Together with Sibley he shared a stand of 52, with West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel — the man of the match at Southampton — leaving the field injured.

But Joseph, using the width of the crease, lured Root into chasing a ball outside off stump, with second-slip Holder catching a thick edge.

Sibley had a let-off shortly before tea when, on 44, he saw Shamarh Brooks fail to hold a tough chance at short leg off Chase.

Sussex fast bowler Archer broke the rules by leaving the bio-secure bubble where his teammates were staying to go home to Brighton on Monday after the end of the first Test, before the team travelled up to Manchester.

Archer’s absence — confirmed just hours before the start of Thursday’s play — deprived England of genuine speed on a pitch with a reputation for aiding fast bowlers after the hosts had already decided to rest James Anderson and Mark Wood.

As happened during the first Test, players from both teams and the umpires took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign before play started at Old Trafford.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.