No play was possible on the third day in Manchester, leaving England just two days to bowl out West Indies twice if they are to keep hopes of a series victory alive.
The second day ended with West Indies 32/1 in response to England's 469/9d, with their hopes of building an unassailable 2-0 series lead dashed. Rain throughout the third day has all but guaranteed that West Indies will not win this Test, but the weather has also ensured that England face a stiff proposition to force a result at all.
Although there has been plenty of assistance on offer for the bowlers so far – with some sharp turn and bounce for the spinners and quick bowlers routinely finding enough movement through the air to beat the edge of the bat – Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes both showed that batting long is possible on this pitch.
Stokes lasted for just over eight hours in all, while Sibley fell having occupied the crease for just four minutes shy of 10 hours. If any West Indies batsmen get close to matching those numbers then England would have little time remaining in which to push for a series-levelling victory, leaving the visitors confident of leaving England still in possession of the Wisden Trophy, which they secured at home in February 2019.
If that does happen, it will be the first time West Indies have retained the trophy in England since 1995, when they drew the six-match series 2-2 having won 3-1 in the Caribbean the previous year. Should England then fail to win the third Test, Jason Holder's team would become the first West Indies side to win a Test series in England since 1988.
In that series Viv Richards led a side containing the likes of Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Jeffrey Dujon and Malcolm Marshall to a 4-0 obliteration of an England team that was captained by four different players across the five Tests.
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