MANCHESTER: Kraigg Brathwaite and Shamarh Brooks cracked patient half centuries as West Indies reached 227/4, still trailing England by 242 runs, at Tea on Day 4 of the second Test at the Old Trafford on Sunday.
Opener Brathwaite was dismissed on 75 off 165 balls (8x4) by Ben Stokes but his fourth wicket stand of 76 with Brooks helped the tourists get close to England's first innings score of 469/9d.
At the break, the Windies still needed 43 runs to avoid follow-on. Brooks was batting on 60 with Roston Chase (8 batting) for company.
The big talking point of the day was when on-field umpires were forced to disinfect the match ball after England's Dominic Sibley inadvertently applied saliva on the cherry -- the first instance since the new ICC regulations have come into play.
Before the start of the 42nd over of the visitors' innings, umpire Michael Gough was seen unwrapping a tissue and he subsequently rubbed it on both sides of the ball.
It was later revealed that Sibley had accidentally applied saliva on the ball and the home side brought the matter immediately to the notice of the umpires, who went ahead and sanitised the ball.
On the field, Brathwaite looked unfazed as he first stitched a 54-run stand with night watchman Alzarri Joseph (32) and then joined hands with Windies' batting mainstay Shai Hope, who looked good on 25 from 71 balls (5x4). The duo added 53 runs together.
Just after lunch, Hope was removed by Sam Curran as he forced the batsman to nick a ball in the corridor for wicketkeeper Jos Buttler to smother an easy catch.
Brathwaite and Brooks then looked very solid as England bowlers had to toil hard to break their partnership before the world-class Stokes set up Brathwaite with a barrage of bouncers from around the wicket to finally have him caught behind off a back of a length delivery.
Play was not possible on the third day due to persistent rains at Old Trafford.
Resuming at 32/1, Brathwaite and Joseph looked good before off-spinner Dom Bess had Joseph caught at short leg by Ollie Pope.
Hope then joined Brathwaite in the middle and played three delectable cover drives to get going as his partner at the other end looked to graft.
After losing the first Test, the hosts' talismanic all-rounder Stokes and Sibley slammed respective centuries and put on a mammoth 260-run stand, before England declared for 469/9 in their first innings.
Brief Scores: West Indies 227/4 (Brathwaite 75, Brooks 60 batting; Curran 2/35) vs England 469/9 (Stokes 176, Sibley 120; Chase 5/172). IANS