ENG V WI 3rd Test: Ollie Pope & Jos Buttler Star

Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler helped England dominate the first day in the third test at Old Trafford scoring 258-4 against the West Indies
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England Recover Through Ollie Pope & Jos Buttler

England had Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler to thank for leaving them in a strong position at the end of day one of the third and final Test. Both players ending the day unbeaten after what had been a sticky first two sessions at Old Trafford.

The Test match has been branded the Ruth Strauss Foundation Test in honour of former England-captain Andrew Strauss’ late wife Ruth. Both teams will wear red to raise funds for the Ruth Strauss Foundation. Emirates Old Trafford was given a red tinge. Plus, the numbers on the players’ shirts are red and they wore red caps before play began.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 24: Former West Indies player Ian Bishop looks on during Day One of the Ruth Strauss Foundation Test, the Third Test in the #RaiseTheBat Series match between England and the West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford on July 24, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The morning started with less drama than that of the second Test. This time Jofra Archer’s name was in circulation for the right reasons as he returned to the England lineup for the decider. At the toss, it was Jason Holder with the luck of the coin once more. He elected to bowl first once more. This, despite losing the last match in similar circumstances.

Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler both retained their places and, in fact, it was Zak Crawley who was dropped for an extra seamer.

Jofra Archer Back In The England Squad Against West Indies At Old Trafford

A Shaky Start By England

Dominic Sibley was the first man to fall, after a century in the first innings of the second Test. This time he fell without scoring, trapped LBW off the bowling of Kemar Roach.

When England captain Joe Root was run out for 17, and star man Ben Stokes was clean bowled by that man Roach once more, the hosts seemed in trouble.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 24: Kemar Roach of West Indies(C) celebrates the wicket of Ben Stokes of England during Day One of the Ruth Strauss Foundation Test, the Third Test in the #RaiseTheBat Series match between England and the West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford on July 24, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB)

Rory Burns could count himself a tad unlucky, having made an impressive 57 he edged a rank short ball to first slip off Roston Chase. Although, Rahkeem Cornwall barely moved until the last moment to hold on with one hand.

With England now 122-4, West Indies had the chance to take control. Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler had other ideas, an unbeaten partnership standing at 136 overnight had put England comfortably ahead at the close of play on day one.

A Perfect Partnership

A partnership that started off as a rebuilding job quickly turned into a dominating stand after tea as both men put their foot down. Off-spinner Cornwall, playing his first Test of the summer, was in line for particular punishment. Buttler sent him into the deserted stands on numerous occasions. In fact, Cornwall finished the day with expensive figures 21.0-4-71-0.

Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler were impressive with the bat at Old Trafford as they put on a partnership of 136*
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 24: Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler of England leave the field as bad light stops play during Day One of the Ruth Strauss Foundation Test, the Third Test in the #RaiseTheBat Series match between England and the West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford on July 24, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB)

Ollie Pope ended the day just nine short of his second Test century whilst Jos Buttler will resume in the morning on 56*. These are valuable runs for the wicketkeeper who had been facing criticism over his place in the side.

Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler – England’s saviours.

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Both sides are currently battling it out for the Wisden Trophy. However, it is set to be renamed following this series to the Viv Richards-Ian Botham trophy. This is in honour of two great players from either side.

Thanks to the middle order partnership, the hosts are now in a position to move the game forwards quickly when play gets underway tomorrow. The visitors know they need early wickets if they are to stand a chance of winning the match, and the series.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 24: Jos Buttler of England celebrates his half century during Day One of the Ruth Strauss Foundation Test, the Third Test in the #RaiseTheBat Series match between England and the West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford on July 24, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB)

Jason Holder will have to rally his troops. A similar first day occurred at Old Trafford in the second test match. England romped to victory in that game. This time, Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler look to have set England up for a second successive victory.

How will the Manchester weather hold up though? Today was a slightly gloomy and cloudy day. The next four days seem set to have rain interruptions throughout. England will, therefore, need to be mindful of how slow they bat. This is because the West Indies will happily take a draw – they currently hold the Wisden Trophy.

Can the West Indies fightback? They have to get both Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler out to start. How do you think they will get on? Respond in the comments section below.

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