Manchester:Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler stitched an unbroken 136-run partnership to help England reach 258/4 at the end of day 1 of the series-deciding third Test against West Indies, at Old Trafford on Friday.
After winning toss and electing to bowl first, Windies got immediate reward in the form of Dom Sibley's wicket with Kemar Roach pinning him in front for a duck in the opening over.
Rory Burns and Joe Root then steadied the ship with a 46-run partnership, which lasted for 20.3 overs before a superb piece of fielding by Roston Chase saw Root run out attempting a quick single.After Root's wicket, Burns formed another good partnership with Ben Stokes, putting on another 45 runs.
But Roach struck again to dismiss Stokes' to leave the England score at 92/3. Another promising partnership for the hosts was ended by Roston Chase, as Burns - having reached his first fifty of the series tried to cut one from the off-spinner, but instead edged to Cornwall at slip who took a sharp catch.
From there on, Pope and Buttler showed great application to weather the storm and settled in nicely as the partnership grew. Pope brought up the fifty partnership and his own fifty with a sumptuous cover drive for four as he began to accelerate.
On the other hand, Buttler showed little aggression before he seized upon a pair of half-volleys from Cornwall to hit two sixes in three balls.Both batsmen rode their luck at times, with a couple of edged drives flying safely through gaps in the field, but for the most part they batted with discipline.
West Indies delayed taking the second new ball for a couple of overs, allowing Buttler time to move to his own fifty. The day was cut short with the light fading too much for play to continue, leaving England 258/4 at stumps with Pope just nine runs shy of his second Test hundred while Buttler on 56.(UNI)