Birmingham: England were left to rue a poor display in the field as West Indies reached 280 for 8 at stumps on day three Saturday of the third Test at Edgbaston. The hosts dropped three simple catches and were also punished for misfields and defensive field placings which saw a number of chances fly through vacant areas of the slip cordon.
The most effective bowler was Steven Finn, but his figures of 2 for 65 were damaged by two dropped chances. Graham Onions, who also had a chance dropped, claimed 3 for 56, while Tim Bresnan took 3 for 74. Marlon Samuels was West Indies' top scorer with 76, from 110 balls with a six and 10 fours, while Denesh Ramdin was unbeaten on 60, from 108 balls with seven fours.
West Indies made four changes to the side that lost the second test and series at Trent Bridge. Star batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul was ruled out with a side strain, his place taken by Narsingh Deonarine. Assad Fudadin and Sunil Narine made their test debuts, replacing Fidel Edwards and Shane Shillingford, while Tino Best came in for Kemar Roach.
England made two changes, with Stuart Broad surprisingly joining James Anderson on the sidelines and Steven Finn and Onions starting. If Anderson's exclusion was expected, the decision to also rest Broad appeared to come as a surprise to the bowler, who was seen having an animated discussion with coach Andy Flower before the start of play.
Captain Andrew Strauss said Broad had "a bit of a cold" but admitted he would have been fit to play if selected. Groundstaff at Edgbaston worked for two days and nights to ensure play was possible, and in overcast and blustery conditions West Indies made a nervous start, after losing the toss and being asked to bat.
The score was 14 for 0 when Barath edged Onions to third slip, where Ian Bell dropped a simple chance. Barath scampered through for a single but four consecutive maidens followed before Onions, having switched ends, was denied another wicket when umpire Tony Hill turned down an lbw shout against Barath.
Replays showed the ball would have clipped the top of the stumps, but not by enough to uphold England's referral. The openers survived for 78 minutes before Powell fell to Bresnan, edging him to second slip where Graeme Swann just held the ball between his thumb and index finger.
However, Barath then smashed Swann's fifth ball for six over long on and Fudadin made a confident start as conditions began to improve before lunch. Barath should have been out in the second over of the afternoon session but when he nicked Finn to second slip Bell again missed a regulation chance.
However, he added just one run before he was lbw to Onions. Barath referred Hill's call and replays again upheld the decision, this time showing the ball would have clipped leg stump.
Finn bowled with consistent hostility and pace and he got the wicket he deserved when he took a return catch from Darren Bravo (6). Fudadin at one point went 28 balls without scoring before he fell for 28 trying to fend off a short ball from Bresnan and gloving a looping chance that Bell this time managed to hold.
Onions — playing in his first test in over two years after recovering from a serious back injury — put England in charge when he removed Deonarine in the 63rd over, caught by Strauss at first slip. However, Samuels regained some of the momentum when he brought up his 50 with a six and a four off successive balls from Swann just before tea.
On 164 for 5 at the interval West Indies were in trouble, but Ramdin and Samuels steered them past the 200 mark and batted for an hour of the evening session with no serious alarms. The breakthrough came when Bresnan had Samuels lbw in the 80th over, a decision the batsman unsuccessfully referred.
Strauss dropped the third easy chance of the day when he put down Darren Sammy off Finn in the 87th over, though he partially atoned when Sammy played a similar shot in Finn's next over. This time Strauss held the catch to remove the West Indies captain for 16.
Narine perished when he played on to Onions for 11, but Ramdin reached his 50 with a single from Bresnan, following a misfield by Jonny Bairstow.