The half an hour before the tea produced one of these "Oh, my!" – moments. During that time, Mark Wood had dropped off a series of deliveries in excess of 90mph, including the fastest ball in the series at 94.8mph. In 19 balls he took the gates of three baffled West Indian batsmen and turned the match.
In Slip Cordon, where Joe Root is staying, and on the English balcony, where the coaches looked spellbound and jubilant, they must have thought, "Oh, my!", An exclamation, followed by "What if we had left wood loose earlier in the series? "
To be fair to decision-makers, Wood has never played so fast for England, nor with such power. He finished his career with the top five for 41 and his first four victims were caught in the slipcordon, fine catches as the ball flew in that direction at high speed. In an electrifying spell, he soon crawls off that the cordon crawls backwards.
Wood found himself on a hat-trick after his first handover, but was not the first English bowler in the innings to be in that position. Earlier, Moeen Ali had dismissed Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell with consecutive balls.
It was an extraordinary day of test cricket, with England having 46 additional runs in the morning, despite starting with six wickets in her hand. Then, when the openings of West Indies 57 came in without being divorced against the old company Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, the English supporters of the party's party decided to have a good time anyway. They got more beer and sang in between with Sweet Caroline to make themselves happy.
Moeen and Wood, two of the least cynical and popular cricketers on the racetrack, soon turned their attention to the test game. Suddenly there was a red cricket game and England had regained control. In the end, they led with 142 wickets in their hands at 142.
This was a series for Pace Bowlers, though England realized that only slowly. In part, the West Indies bowlers prevailed because they were faster and the home side were ready to play in lively squares that had unusually large grass in Antigua and St. Lucia. Gras often translates into a tempo that invariably delivers a nice spectacle – no matter if the overs are sometimes thrown too slowly for the authorities and the curmudgeons. Nevertheless, on the fifth day of this series, we have not seen cricket, which seems unlikely after the clatter of 16 wickets on Sunday.
The first six fired batsmen were Englishmen who could not use the hard work of Saturday afternoon. Buttler, with his feet in the crease, was thrown through the gate by a quick delivery from Shannon Gabriel without raising his nightly score.
Ben Stokes had scored 79 points, his highest innings since returning to the team after the recent Ashes series. At that time he fell an excellent dive by Shane Dowrich in the pursuit of a top-edge.
Jonny Bairstow's return to number 7 was unproductive. He fought 32 balls for his two runs before being thrown by Roach on the inside edge. Moeen flickered very briefly and the tail declined. Maybe Stokes and Buttler had played better on the first day than we thought.
The openers of the West Indies did not seem to have too many problems. Broad and Anderson beat the bat as many times as possible, but Brathwaite survived as Campbell began to prosper. The left-hander hit a straight four and a six against Anderson and began bickering against Broad, who pulled the glove back against him with a slightly smaller bowling. This limits Campbell's run-scoring options and the chances that Broad dismissed him.
Reasonably, Root turned to Moeen with quick success. Brathwaite, a model of sobriety over all the other bowlers, waved into the distance, where Anderson was holding another beautiful outfield catch. This was the fourth time in the series that Moeen Brathwaite fired. The next ball, Campbell had been on strike since the batsmen had crossed, and he fluttered towards Midwicket, missed the ball and was lbw.
Now Wood was galloping with the wind behind him. In his first lap, Shai Hope overtook a ramp where Rory Burns had a good chance, and his attempt to catch Roston Chase from a jack beside the next ball was even better. Shimron Hetmeyer survived the hat-trick ball, but sat down shortly before the tea against Root, again to decide against a quick delivery of wood.
After the break, Darren Bravo fell in a similar way. In his eight-year spell, interrupted by tea, Wood had won four for 37. The West Indian middle had been blown away, and Wood had clearly advanced his career prospects.
Keemo Paul played some exotic punches before being surprised by his first delivery from Moeen. With Wood, normal cricket rested for a while. Stokes was not called, indicating that he was not fully fit, but eventually Broad Dowrich lbw was under scrutiny. It was more likely that Broad had a smile on his lips as he torched with a handshake and dismissed Alzarri Joseph, who sat at Moeen.
Root then remembered Wood to give him the first 5 wicket test in test cricket and standing ovation.