ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – A frustrated Jayden Seales has described Thursday’s opening day of the third Test as “bittersweet” after watching England rally from 114 for nine to 204 all out, and regain a foothold in the contest.
Seales led an outstanding effort from the home side over the first two sessions to put England on the ropes before number 11 Saqib Mahmood (49) and Jack Leach (41 not out) hauled the visitors around in a 90-run last wicket partnership.
“For me and I think for the team it would be a bittersweet [day] because if someone came to us and told us we would get England out for 200, you would be very pleased,” the 20-year-old told the media afterwards.
“On the same hand, if someone told you they would be batting 110 for nine and they get to 204, you’d be disappointed in yourself.
“So it’s just a matter for us once we get into these kinds of positions that we close off the game and get the job done.”
England looked set to crumble for under 100 runs when they slumped to 90 for eight about 40 minutes before tea, but Chris Woakes led a fightback with 35 in a small 24-run stand with Leach.
Seales, who finished with three for 40, bowled Woakes with the second ball after the final interval only to see Saqib and Leach frustrate the hosts for the next two hours.
The final session was in contrast to the first two when England lost wickets regularly, with only opener Alex Lees of the specialist batsmen, making it to double figures with 31.
However, Seales said the surface was one where scoring was easier against the older ball.
“I think the pitch is basically the same because when we got the second new ball there was still a lot of movement for the bowlers and it was hard for the batsmen to score once the ball was on a good length,” he explained.
“Once the ball got soft it’s a bit easier [to score].”
All-rounder Kyle Mayers (2-13), in his first match of the series, grabbed two of the three wickets to fall in the first session while Alzarri Joseph (2-33) and Kemar Roach (2-41) picked up two apiece in the second, as England wobbled on 114 for eight at tea.
But with their recovery, Seales believes the total represented a “decent” one in the end.
“Honestly, on this wicket I think that’s actually a decent score because later down in the game it (pitch) might start to go up and down with variable bounce,” Seales said.
“It’s definitely ‘game on’. Hopefully the batsmen can go out and do what they’ve been doing so well for us throughout the entire series and get this win.”