LONDON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - James Anderson struck twice as England made early inroads to leave West Indies on 35 for two on a rain-affected first morning of the series-deciding third test at Lord’s on Thursday.
The 35-year-old swing specialist found the overcast conditions to his liking as he moved to within one wicket of joining a select band of bowlers to claim 500 test victims.
Gloomy overhead conditions appeared perfect for the home attack but West Indies skipper Jason Holder, hoping to steer the Windies to a first series win in England since 1988, chose to bat after winning the toss.
England should have had a breakthrough in the third over when Anderson, who began the day stuck on 497 wickets, found the edge of opener Kraigg Brathwaite’s bat only for Alastair Cook to spill a routine low catch at first slip — his third dropped catch in two matches.
Brathwaite, scorer of 229 runs in two superb innings as West Indies claimed a stunning five-wicket victory at Headingley, was not so lucky the next time he edged Anderson as wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow took the catch to dismiss the 24-year-old for 10.
With dark clouds forcing the Lord’s floodlights to be switched on, Kieran Powell was joined at the crease by Kyle Hope shortly before rain forced a 40-minute interruption.
When play resumed Powell struck a confident boundary off his legs off Stuart Broad but the menacing Anderson struck again in the next over as a tentative Hope edged to a diving Bairstow without scoring to leave West Indies rocking on 22 for two.
Shai Hope, a double centurion in the second test, carried on where he left off at Headingley as he struck Anderson for two boundaries in the first three balls he faced.
He was eight not out at lunch with Powell on 17 from 53 balls having struck three boundaries.
Anderson is bidding to join Sri Lanka’s off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Australian leg spinner Shane Warne (708), Indian leg spinner Anil Kumble (619), Australian paceman Glenn McGrath (563) and West Indies quickie Courtney Walsh (519) on the list of bowlers with 500 test wickets.
West Indies, who suffered a humiliating defeat in the first test at Edgbaston where they lost 19 wickets in a single day, were unchanged from the side that rebounded in Leeds.
England made one change with fast bowler Toby Roland-Jones being recalled in place of Chris Woakes. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)