West Indies stumbled after an 83-run opening stand to be 127 for four at tea in reply to England’s first innings total of 311 on the second day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Wednesday.
After Jonny Bairstow was last out for 140 as the visitors extended their first innings by another 43 runs in the morning, home captain Kraigg Brathwaite stroked 55 off 70 balls with seven fours and one six in an uncharacteristically aggressive effort.
John Campbell, in his first Test for almost a year, was content to play the supporting role but eventually fell for 35 in mid-afternoon, gloving an attempted pull off Craig Overton for wicketkeeper Ben Foakes to complete the leg-side catch.
Energised by that breakthrough, England pushed for more success with the raw pace of Mark Wood proving unsettling.
Brathwaite chased a wide delivery from the fast bowler and Overton took a tumbling catch at backward point before a leaden-footed prod by Shamarh Brooks at Ben Stokes resulted in a simple snare for England captain Joe Root at first slip.
Jermaine Blackwood was lucky to escape before he had scored as Foakes could not hold on to a sharp chance when the vice-captain drove loosely at Wood.
However there was no reprieve a few minutes later when an appeal for a catch at gully off Chris Woakes was upheld on review as television replays revealed an inside-edge onto the thigh pad before the ball nestled in Overton’s safe hands.
A light shower then prompted an early tea interval with Jason Holder joining Nkrumh Bonner for what could be an intriguing final session of play for the day.
Earlier, Jayden Seales struck twice in three balls to finish with the best innings figures of four for 81 for the home side while fellow fast bowler Alzarri Joseph finally enjoyed some success with the last two wickets of England first innings.
Bairstow’s controlled innings eventually ended via a well-judged catch by Jason Holder running back from slip to short third-man as the right-hander sliced an attempted heave to the on-side half an hour before lunch.
As at the end of the first day when he finished unbeaten on 109, he left the field to a standing ovation from the strong contingent of English supporters along with his appreciative teammates,
His six-and-a-half hour occupation of the crease was highlighted by 21 fours off 259 deliveries.
Resuming at the overnight position of 268 for six, Bairstow and Woakes extended their seventh-wicket partnership by another 17 runs to 71 when Seales struck, the 20-year-old produced a lifting delivery which Woakes gloved to wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva and departed for 28.
He was joined in the pavilion two balls later by Overton as the tail-ender pushed off the hip to Bonner at short-leg before he had scored.
Bairstow then put on 20 with Wood until an attempted pull by the lower-order player off Joseph resulted in a comfortable catch for Veerasammy Permaul at cover.
Frustrated through the first day when he went wicketless, Joseph then had even more reason to force a smile when Bairstow’s determined effort ended, the excellence of Holder’s catch coming in sharp contrast to much of the West Indies’ catching through the innings.