Stokes dominates again as England take handy lead


He began West Indies' decline in the second innings with wicket No. 500 and finished them off with No. 506 on the third afternoon, leaving England with a target of 107 to secure a second victory for Joe Root in two series as captain. James Anderson's career-best seven-wicket haul, which included his 500th in Tests, provided the excuse for champagne corks to pop early - though little excuse is needed here - and there was time to drink in the last of the Test summer, as Mark Stoneman and Tom Westley knocked off the runs required.

Anderson, whose previous best was 7 for 43 against New Zealand in Nottingham in 2008, become the first Englishman and only the sixth bowler in history to take 500 Test wickets during the course of the innings.

"The ball seemed to hoop around", added Root, whose first season as Test skipper ended with two series wins after South Africa were beaten 3-1 in a preceding four-match campaign.

There are still many questions to answer ahead of the opening Ashes Test in Brisbane, yet overall Root can be pleased with the positive start he has made as captain.

"It has been great", he said.

"It's a tough place to play cricket, it's good to get some runs under my belt", said Hope. Two hard weeks [during the two defeats] but what's most pleasing is the resilience and the character that we showed to come back from both of those with two extremely strong performances. "I think those learnings and the manner that we won after that is great to ahead of what is going to be a very challenging winter".

Stoneman and Dawid Malan are near-certainties to be chosen for the Ashes trip but Westley will contest with several others.

"We have done some good stuff this summer and we should not be afraid of going over there [Australia] and performing at our best and doing something special", Root said.

"What we don't see is what he's been through, those years that he had to put out the cones in 2005 for the fab four bowling attack, the sacrifices he's had to make, the injuries he's had, all the pain he's gone through, we've seen the end result".

Thoughts naturally now turn to the tour of Australia with Root saying: "I'm happy with the way the whole group is shaping up". A number of guys have stood up coming into the Test arena and really made a case for themselves.

"He has just shown what he is still capable of and that he is still desperate to kick on and do some more great things".

Much of this match was a day/nighter in all but name and it was no surprise that batsmen on both sides struggled in overcast conditions against the red ball. He has taken more wickets at Lord's, 84, but his 60 in Nottingham have come in just nine Tests as opposed to 21 at headquarters.

"This summer has been unreal for him, but I wouldn't say I'm surprised how it has turned out".

Anderson's form, with 39 wickets at 14.10, has been central to the Root era starting successfully and he was named Man of the Series against West Indies.

"I think we've got a lot to be proud of", he added.

Indeed Anderson once said he had to force himself to become increasingly confrontational - a process he likened to being "Jimmy on the field and James off it". Unfortunately we didn't get more batsmen to carry on, lots of us got starts but didn't carry on, and we let ourselves down with our fielding, probably this entire series.