Jos Buttler and Ollie Pope hit fifties to put England in front on day one of the third and final Test between England and the West Indies at the Old Trafford in Manchester on Friday. The host was 258/4 when bad light forced umpires to call off the day's play, with Pope just nine shy of his second Test hundred.
Pope, whose highest score in this series was 12, struck 11 fours in his innings and his unbeaten 136-run partnership with Buttler, who is not out on 56, thwarted a West Indies bowling attack which had England four down for 122 at one stage. It was 131-4 by tea on the first day.
Pope and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler began to rebuild the innings, with only a long tail left for England after the dismissals of Ben Stokes and Rory Burns in the second session.
Stokes - promoted to No. 4 so England could squeeze in another fast bowler - was bowled by a beauty through the gate by Kemar Roach for 20, having added 13 runs to his score at lunch.
Burns reached his sixth Test half-century but departed soon after for 57, wafting at a ball from spinner Roston Chase that was too close to him and finding an edge that was taken one-handed by Rahkeem Cornwall at slip.
England was crawling along, scoring 65 runs at a rate of 2.5 per over between lunch and tea but things began to look up once Pope and Buttler got into their stride. The West Indies pacers had themselves to blame, having sprayed the ball around at times while the spinners, Chase in particular, was guilty of bowling a leg-stump line. Jason Holder will hope for a upswing in fortune when day two gets underway on Saturday.