England sense victory against stumbling Windies

England head into the final day of the third Test against the West Indies seven wickets away from a victory that would tie the five-game series at 1-1.

England captain Andrew Strauss set the West Indies a mammoth target of 503 to win after declaring at 221-8 at the Antigua Recreation Ground on Wednesday. England then picked up three wickets as the hosts reached 143-3 at the close.

West Indies need a further 360 to win, with Ramnaresh Sarwan 47 not out and Shivnarine Chanderpaul undefeated on 18.

Although the pitch in the hastily rearranged match has endured well, West Indies do not have a good record of batting for survival in recent years and England will be bitterly disappointed if they cannot turn their dominance throughout this Test into victory.

“The way we have bowled in this series so far, sticking to our task, searching for reverse swing, and then we’ll have a new ball before tea, I’m pretty confident we can do it,” England fast bowler Steve Harmison told reporters.

England will, though, be hampered by a hip injury to Andrew Flintoff, who was restricted to just three overs on Wednesday.

Opener Devon Smith was trapped lbw on the back foot by Harmison to break a promising first-wicket stand of 59.

With huge responsibility on his shoulders, West Indies skipper Chris Gayle looked in good form as he moved to 35.

But, as in the first innings, a loose stroke cost him dearly and he was rapped on the pads as he attempted to sweep Graeme Swann’s off-spin.—Reuters


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