Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of the second day of the third and deciding Test between England and West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford.
I have bad news for you: if it is not currently raining in Manchester, it will be at some point, according to every single weather forecasting platform that I have checked this morning. Skies are gloomy above Old Trafford as it stands, but the forecast is not looking as dismal as it did when I first woke up this morning – 8am, for those interested – and so we might get slightly more cricket than we first anticipated. That will suit England after they finished last night narrowly in the ascendancy.
After struggling through the first two sessions, with only Rory Burns posting a score above 20, Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler dug in with uncharacteristic – for Buttler, at least – poise. Pope ended the day on an unbeaten 91 – his first Test score of note on home soil – while Buttler managed to put his middling form in Test cricket to one side to finish on 56 not out. But the job is far from done.
These two must continue to bat. After leaving out Zak Crawley and picking Ben Stokes as a specialist batsman – the allrounder is unable to bowl – England opted for an extended bowling attack, meaning that once this Pope-Buttler partnership is broken, we are into the tail.
West Indies started strongly on Friday but they will be disappointed that they were unable to capitalise on their early momentum, with Pope and Buttler all over them like a cheap suit in that final session. The visitors will probably not be hoping for rain – far from it, as an early wicket or two would put them back in the driving seat – but precipitation in northern England would certainly not be met with ire in their camp. A reminder that the visitors will retain the Wisden Trophy even if the match is a draw.
The stage is set for another compelling day of Test cricket, but will the elements allow it?