KINGSTON (Jamaica): Matt Prior completed a purposeful half-century that helped England to frustrate West Indies before lunch in the first cricket Test, here on Thursday. Prior made 64 as England reached 311 for eight at lunch on the second day.

Ryan Sidebottom was batting on 20 and Steve Harmison was not out on seven as they put on an unbroken 23 for the ninth-wicket to extend England’s innings to lunch after West Indies claimed three wickets in the first one-and-a-half-hours.

England suffered an early setback after it continued from its overnight total of 236 for five when Andrew Flintoff was caught at backward point for 43 off Daren Powell, chasing a short, wide, rising ball.

The visitor then stumbled to 256 for seven when Stuart Broad was caught at gully for four, slicing a drive off Jerome Taylor.

For the next 45 minutes, Prior and Sidebottom stemmed the fall of wickets with a stand of 32 for the eighth-wicket.

Prior reached his 50 when he edged a big drive at a delivery from Powell and the ball flew just wide off the second slip fielder Devon Smith on its way to the third-man boundary for the fifth of his seven fours.

But Prior paid for his petulance when he tried to launch an attack on beanpole left-arm spin bowler Sulieman Benn and was caught and bowled about 45 minutes before the interval to fully expose the England tail.

Harmison came to the crease, gave solid support to Sidebottom, and they ensured England would not be dismissed before lunch.

Benn has been the most successful of the West Indies bowler with three for 76 from 42 overs, Powell has taken two for 54 from 20 overs, and Jerome Taylor two for 70 from 19 overs.

Earlier, Kevin Pietersen added a diligent 97 and Andrew Flintoff scored 43 to bail England out of trouble. — Agencies

SCOREBOARD

 England — 1st innings: A. Strauss c Ramdin b Taylor 7, A. Cook c Sarwan b Powell 4, I. Bell c Smith b Gayle 28, K. Pietersen c Ramdin b Benn 97, P. Collingwood lbw b Benn 16, A. Flintoff c Nash b Powell 43, M. Prior c & b Benn 64, S. Broad c Benn b Taylor 4, R. Sidebottom (batting) 20, S. Harmison (batting) 7, Extras (b-7, lb-7, nb-7): 21; Total (for eight wkts. in 117 overs at lunch): 311.

Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-31, 3-71, 4-96, 5-180, 6-241, 7-256, 8-288.

West Indies bowling: Taylor 19-4-70-2, Edwards 14-1-58-0, Powell 20-5-54-2, Benn 42-12-76-3, Gayle 22-8-39-1.

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