Ton-up Sibley keeps West Indies at bay

Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Dom Sibley scored one of the slowest Test hundreds by an England batsman as the hosts made it through Friday morning's session of the second Test against the West Indies at Old Trafford without losing a wicket.

England were 264-3 at lunch on the second day, with opening batsman Sibley 101 not out -- a second hundred in his eight Tests -- and all-rounder Ben Stokes on 99 not out.

One worry for England, in a match they had to win to level the series at 1-1, was whether they were scoring quickly enough.

But given Sibley and Stokes came together when England were struggling at 81-3, their caution in a partnership now worth 183 runs was understandable.

Opening batsman Sibley took 471 minutes -- nine minutes short of eight hours -- to reach his century, which he brought up with an on-driven three off paceman Alzarri Joseph.

The 24-year-old Warwickshire right-hander needed 312 balls to get to three figures, with just four fours in a century that followed his 133 not out against South Africa at Cape Town in January.

He has cashed in after West Indies captain Jason Holder floored a routine slip catch when Sibley had made 68.

England resumed on Friday on 207-3, with Sibley 86 not out after batting through the first day and Ben Stokes unbeaten on 59.

The hosts had been in trouble at 29-2 before Sibley and Stokes helped England turn the tide after returning captain Joe Root was out for 23 after losing the toss in overcast, bowler-friendly conditions.

West Indies made a wayward start on Friday, with Shannon Gabriel bowling several wide deliveries before he started to control the swinging ball.

But with England struggling to score runs on a sluggish outfield, Holder delayed taking the new ball until the 94th over.

And when they did, the danger it would go quicker off the bat, was evident when Stokes clipped Holder through midwicket for four before the left-handed batsman drove him down the ground for another boundary.