England captain Joe Root equalled AB de Villiers’ world record of half-centuries in 12 successive Tests but fell soon after as the West Indies battled hard on day two at Headingley.
Root’s relentless record of 50-plus scores dates back to the second Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka last October and takes in subsequent series against India, South Africa and the Windies.
He was reprieved on eight when Kieran Powell shelled a simple catch at slip and showed more frustration at the manner of his dismissal than satisfaction at his landmark after a botched paddle sweep off Devendra Bishoo saw him fifth man out for 59.
That left the hosts 140 for five, a poor return having won the toss but fitting reward for a significantly improved West Indian side.
Root’s efforts could not disguise their familiar frailties elsewhere in the top five, where Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan once again failed to make their case.
Having found their very worthiness as tourists questioned following their three-day hammering in last week’s day/night Test at Edgbaston, the Windies showed skill and spirit in equal measure to prey on a flaky batting line-up.
Alastair Cook has plenty of credit in the bank and a double-century last time out but he was first to fall, nicking the returning Shannon Gabriel off the back foot on 11 and being well held at third slip by Kyle Hope.
That brought together Stoneman and Westley, two men eager to underline their credentials ahead of this winter’s Ashes tour but with just eight runs apiece in Birmingham and questions still to answer.
Neither response, in the end, was satisfactory. Westley never appeared at ease, from the moment Gabriel marked his card with a 91mph bouncer, and groped at successive deliveries while still on a duck.
He eventually mustered three runs before Roach speared one full at the stumps and conjured a back-foot lbw so clear, Westley did not even raise the prospect of referral with his partner.
Stoneman at least threatened to find his feet, facing 47 balls for his 19 but the manner of his departure was poor. Roach angled a swinging delivery towards the slips and clipped the inside edge of the bat as the Surrey opener drove loosely and into the gloves of Shane Dowrich.
Root, with just eight to his name and the scoreboard reading 44 for three, was convinced his time was also up when he edged a regulation chance to Powell and had started to walk when the ball squirmed out of the slip’s grasp.
Malan joined Stoneman and Westley with an underwhelming stay, playing Jason Holder into his off stump for eight early in the afternoon session.
Ben Stokes benefited from more generosity in the field, fending Roach towards the cordon on nine where Kraigg Brathwaite parried a shoulder-high chance for four.
Stokes’ frenetic stay continued, mis-hits and blows to the leg mixed with domineering shots but the West Indies did not abandon the hunt.
Instead they added the wicket of Jonny Bairstow for two, edging the impressive Gabriel low to Holder at slip and lingering until the third umpire green lit the catch.
At tea England were teetering on 156 for six, with Stokes 45no and Moeen Ali newly arrived.