1st Test: West Indies run chase depends on first hour of play on final day, says Phil Simmons

North Sound (Antigua), April 17: The West Indies intend to have a crack at the massive victory target of 438, set by England in the first Test, but head coach Phil Simmons says their approach will be determined by the team's success during the first hour of the final day of the match.

Match Scorecard

Opener Devon Smith stroked his first half-century since his return to Tests last December but Darren Bravo's demise, half-hour before the close, left the West Indies with a mountain to climb to win the opening Test against England here.

England's Gary Ballance (right) celebrates after hitting a ton against West Indies

The left-handed Smith was carrying West Indies' fight with a fine, unbeaten 59 and was accompanied by Marlon Samuels on two.

The Caribbean side finished Thursday's penultimate day on 98 for two, still 340 runs adrift of their target but Simmons said the position represented where they had wanted to be at the close of the day at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, reports CMC.

"At the end of the day we wanted to be about 100 for one and tomorrow (Friday) morning I think the first hour is important," said the newly-appointed coach.

"We can't lose any wickets in the first hour. We are a team that scores quickly so going into the last session, it depends on where we are as to if we have a go at getting the runs, but with me it is always (looking) at how you can get the runs before you look at how you can save it."

"So it's a case of when we come tomorrow morning we'll assess what we need in every session and see how we end up at tea and then we could know whether we chase the runs or play it out," he added.

Resuming the day on 116 for three, England declared their second innings on 333 for seven, about half-an-hour before tea.

Left-hander Gary Ballance stroked his fourth Test hundred, a knock of 122 while Jos Buttler hit an unbeaten cameo of 59 and Joe Root also hit a breezy 59.

The West Indies lost Kraigg Brathwaite early for five to limp to tea at nine for one but opener Devon Smith carved out an attractive unbeaten 59 in an 83-run second-wicket stand with Darren Bravo (32) to steady the innings.

Bravo fell with the close in sight to surrender some of the Windies stability but Simmons remained confident his side were still in a healthy position.

"At this stage, we are where we wanted to be, 100 for one or two so we're still looking to win the game," the Trinidadian told reporters.

"The first hour will determine how things go. England are going to try everything to get wickets in that first hour. If we can play well in that first hour, then we set up a good day's play but if England play better than us in that hour then it may be easier for them than for us."


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