MARK WOOD unleashed a fusillade of fast bowling as England finally fought fire with fire in the heat of the Caribbean.
Durham speedster Wood was clocked at an incredible 95mph as he took his first five-wicket haul for England and turned the Third Test on its head.
If accurate, it is among the fastest bowling by an Englishman since speed guns were introduced. Andrew Flintoff reached 95.1mph against the Aussies at Lord’s in 2009.
Wood’s missiles were the quickest of the series – even more rapid than all the thunderbolts sent down by Shannon Gabriel.
Wood took two wickets in two balls in his opening over and his ferocious eight-over spell yielded figures of 4-37.
Then captain Joe Root brought him back with the chance of a first five-for in Test cricket – and he did it second ball by shattering Shannon Gabriel’s stumps.
With Moeen Ali also snaring wickets with consecutive deliveries and four in all, West Indies plunged from 57-0 to 59-4 and then 104-7 and 154 all out. Yes, that’s right, they lost four wickets for two runs at one stage.
It was great to see an English speedster giving the Windies a taste of their own medicine and making batsmen jump around with considerable apprehension.
The series has been lost after terrible performances in the opening two Tests but at least England can salvage a degree of self-esteem.
For Wood, playing his first Test match since May, it was a joyous day after enduring so much injury misery in recent years.
He has undergone three ankle operations and suffered various other ailments – but here he was charging in, tail up and loving every second.
There is no more popular member of the England squad.
By the close of day two, England were 19-0 in their second innings with an overall lead of 142 runs.
There were few signs of the impending carnage as stand-in skipper Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell put on 57 for the first wicket. Leftie Campbell lifted James Anderson for six over square leg and several other boundaries – much to the anger of Anderson.
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But then Brathwaite attempted an out-of-character big hit against Moeen and holed out to Anderson on the run at long-on.
Next ball, Campbell was lbw and, although Darren Bravo survived the hat-trick delivery, the breach had been made.
Hope drove at Wood’s fifth ball and a catch flew to Rory Burns in the gully. Next delivery, Roston Chase fended unconvincingly and Burns held on again.
Shimron Hetmyer was roughed up before edging to slip, where Root held a juggling catch. Bravo poked tentatively and Root pocketed the catch.
Next man out was Keemo Paul, stumped by Jonny Bairstow off Moeen. Shane Dowrich made 38 before being lbw to Stuart Broad, who then held a one-handed, backpedalling catch at mid-off to dispatch Alzarri Joseph. Wood completed his five-for with a straight ball to Gabriel.
Earlier, England’s first innings subsided disappointingly from an overnight total of 231-4.
Jos Buttler was bowled by Gabriel without adding to his 67 not out and Bairstow struggled like heck. He was hit on the helmet grille trying to sway away from a Gabriel bouncer, dropped by Gabriel off his own bowling, survived a DRS for lbw and eventually bowled for two from 33 balls.
It came as little surprise that Bairstow was bowled aiming a big drive – it happens all-too-often.
Stokes, on 79, top-edged a pull against Roach and wicketkeeper Dowrich ran 30 yards and held a fine catch.
Moeen edged Joseph to slip and Wood pulled to fine leg, where Joseph nonchalently held a running catch. Anderson gloved a bouncer into the slips.