West Indies v England: Tourists slump as dreadful spinners toil

By Jonathan AgnewBBC cricket correspondent
Moeen Ali bowls
Moeen Ali has taken five wickets at an average of 30.8 in the series
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew in Barbados

After an extraordinary second day in the third Test between England and West Indies, it's hard to know which side is on top.

Instinct tells me that England, with a 107-run lead on the board and five wickets remaining, have their noses just about in front, but if their spinners bowl as poorly in the fourth innings as they did today, they're in real trouble.

It's no exaggeration to say it was an absolutely awful day for Moeen Ali and Joe Root. The way they bowled would have sent shudders through the England dressing room.

The conditions should have suited them, but they bowled far too many long hops and gave easy runs away. In such a low-scoring Test match, that's criminal.

All-rounders Moeen and Root will have to really sharpen up their act in the fourth innings, where they will have a key role to play, as it looks likely that England will be defending a modest target.

Ex-England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on BBC Test Match Special
"England had West Indies on the rack but they lost the plot. Moeen Ali - if he's the best in England, please write in quickly to the chairman of selectors if you're a spinner because that was a load of rubbish. And Joe Root was even worse. He's a part-time bowler but my daughter's hockey team could have walloped his long hops for six."

Inevitably, there will be calls for England to bring in a specialist spinner for the upcoming Test matches against New Zealand and Australia, but I don't believe that would be the right way forward.

Conditions will be completely different on English pitches, where I fully expect England to stick with their current formula of four seamers plus Moeen and Root.

However, the spin bowling is far from the only concern ahead of those tough summer assignments.

This was also a day when England's batting malfunctioned badly. To lose eight wickets for 56 runs is simply not good enough, even on a pitch as crumbly and uneven as this.

The batsmen played fretful, frenetic cricket, and most of the wickets that went down owed more to faults in the mind than any serious failings in the surface.

One man has surely played his last innings for England and that is Jonathan Trott. Trott has been a wonderful servant for England but no-one deserves to be continually selected on reputation alone and now is the time for the selectors to move on at the top of the order.

Adam Lyth runs
Yorkshire batsman Adam Lyth averages 43.27 in first-class cricket

Adam Lyth deserves the chance to come in and open the batting. He has earned his opportunity. He will be coming in in difficult circumstances, facing the likes of New Zealand's Trent Boult and Tim Southee in English conditions, but that is the nature of Test cricket - you've got to face up to whatever's coming your way.

One area that should give England real confidence ahead of the summer Tests is the pace bowling.

James Anderson was majestic once again - he pitched the ball up, swung it both ways at will and caused the West Indies batsmen all manner of problems.

It was also a very good day for his new-ball partner Stuart Broad, who bowled at good pace and looks better and better with every match that passes since his major knee surgery.

But however good those two are, they can't be asked to win this match for England on a surface that has offered little for the quick bowlers.

England need to try and extend their lead to 170 or 180 - I think that would take some getting on this pitch.

But there are no guarantees for England. They are a team with limited confidence, trying to build and discover themselves, and when they are put under pressure, they can make some daft mistakes.

Jonathan Agnew was talking to BBC Sport's James Gheerbrant.