England v West Indies: Stoneman’s timely knock gives Root and England a platform in tantalising Headingley Test

England's Mark Stoneman reaches his half-century during day three of the the second Investec Test match at Headingley (Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire)
England's Mark Stoneman reaches his half-century during day three of the the second Investec Test match at Headingley (Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire)
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MARK STONEMAN believes that the momentum is now with England after he helped to lead a fightback in the Headingley Test.

The opening batsman scored his first half-century at Test level as England erased a first-innings deficit of 169 to take a two-run lead into day four. After the hosts closed on 171-3, Stoneman said: “The momentum is now probably in our favour. We’ve had a strong day and managed to bounce back; anything over a 200-lead and we’d feel really in the game. We’re pretty happy with where we’re at, and we just have to build on what we’ve got.”

England's not out batsmen Joe Root (left) and Dawid Malan at the end day three of the the second Investec Test match at Headingley

England's not out batsmen Joe Root (left) and Dawid Malan at the end day three of the the second Investec Test match at Headingley

Stoneman dislocated his left little finger while batting before it was put back in place by the physio.

The left-hander was struck by a ball from Jason Holder when he had 35 and threw off his glove in obvious pain.

“When it first happened I thought ‘something’s not right here’,” said Stoneman. “It was looking a bit of a mess and I was fearing the worst.

“It was just a little dislocation and the physio put it straight back in. Thankfully, I’m fine now.”

I think the way that the game’s panned out has helped me to forget about things on the periphery. Once I got through the first 20 balls of this innings, I sort of forgot about the scrutiny and attention.

Mark Stoneman

Stoneman’s 52 was a timely innings with an Ashes tour looming, but he insisted that he is not looking that far ahead. “Just getting here was a long enough road for me, so trying to forecast anything beyond my next innings would be daft really,” he said.

“I can only take the next opportunity and take it from there.

“I think the way that the game’s panned out has helped me to forget about things on the periphery. Once I got through the first 20 balls of this innings, I sort of forgot about the scrutiny and attention.”

Joe Root resumes on 45 not out today as he and Dawid Malan (21no) look to turn their 77-run stand into a defendable target.

West Indies’ captain Holder believes the game is on a knife-edge.

“It’s evenly poised,” he said. “We’ve got three wickets and they’ve only got a lead of two runs, and a target of anywhere around 150 I think we’d be happy with.”

Day three verdict: Page 6