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Andy Flower's side were set a mammoth 408 to win by West Indies A, and if it wasn't for Dom Bess's 5-88 on debut, the total would have been even more substantial
Dom Bess took five wickets for England Lions
West Indies A put themselves on the verge of victory on day three of the final "Test" in Antigua, with the hosts only requiring a further four wickets for victory when the teams return.
Andy Flower's side were set a mammoth 408 to win, and if it wasn't for Dom Bess's 5-88 on debut, the total would have been even more substantial.
Jahmar Hamilton and Shane Dowrich scored the bulk of the Windies’ 273 second-innings runs, with 79 and 71 respectively, as England Lions toiled in blistering conditions at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
The Lions then responded by losing five wickets in the final session to leave them 132 for six, still 276 runs behind their victory target and teetering on the brink of a series whitewash.
Dowrich and Hamilton resumed the hosts innings on day three and quickly got the scoreboard moving when the latter pounced on a loose Jack Leach delivery and hit it for four through the midwicket region.
The two brought up the 50-run partnership off 105 balls after Hamilton drove Leach to long-off for a single and the same man then reached his own 50 shortly after, backing up his 100 in Kingston.
STATE OF THE GAMEWest Indies A 236 & 273-7decEngland Lions 102 & 132-6England Lions need 276 runs to win with four second-innings wickets remaining
Bess and Leach searched for the breakthrough but the hosts continued to accumulate without trouble, until Hamilton edged Bess to Haseeb Hameed at slip. He couldn't cling on to a difficult chance.
The two Somerset spinners bowled in tandem but struggled to create opportunities in batting friendly conditions, as the 350-run lead came up following another Dowrich boundary.
Hamilton then hit Leach for back-to-back fours which brought up the 100 partnership off 190 balls and Dowrich gave him the same treatment, bringing up his 50 from 99 balls.
Bess, the more impressive of the two Lions spinners, finally found the breakthrough 90 minutes into the first session, as Hamilton edged behind to Alex Davies for 79.
Coughlin looked to have then got Dowrich but Nick Gubbins couldn't cling on to a diving chance at short midwicket.
The Nottinghamshire allrounder did get his reward when Raymon Reifer edged a good delivery to Davies behind the stumps to depart for 14.
Rahkeem Cornwall followed soon after, out lbw, to give Bess his fifth wicket of the innings, and the off-spinner was rewarded for a sustained period of patient and high-quality bowling.
The declaration then came in the following over with the hosts nine wickets down, after Paul Coughlin had struck with successive balls.
Jomel Warrican has dominated the Lions on this tour
First he had Dowrich caught at cover by Sam Northeast and then Jomel Warrican followed, caught down the legside by Davies.
Dowrich was impressive throughout his 154-ball stay and helped set the Lions a substantial target of 408 to win.
Keaton Jennings and Hameed then put on 35 for the first wicket but the captain tried to hook Keemo Paul and only proceeded in top edging to Reifer at point.
Gubbins then had to weather sustained periods of short pitched bowling and got hit on the helmet twice by Keon Joseph.
Cornwall entered the fray and beat Gubbins' bat before clean bowling the left-hander for 21, leaving the Lions 78 for two and still requiring 330 runs for victory.
His partner in crime, Warrican, then had Lancastrian Hameed stumped by Hamilton and the Lions had suddenly lost two wickets in two overs.
Joe Clarke had moved off nought to evade any thoughts of a pair, and was joined by Northeast at the crease.
The Worcestershire batsman then called the new man through for a single and Northeast was run out for six to leave the Lions 102 for four and still 306 runs away from their victory target.
Davies joined him and tried to be aggressive from the off, offering a catching opportunity to Reifer and stumping chance to Hamilton, which were both not taken.
Clarke was the next to depart, though, in a calamitous final session, as he was clean bowled by Warrican for 21 after the ball unluckily flicked off his pads.
Coughlin began his innings with a sumptuous cover drive for four but he soon chopped on against Warrican and the Lions were facing an uphill battle to save the game.
Davies and Leach saw out the remaining overs with little drama, but the Lions reached the close on 132 for six, needing to bat the whole final day to save a draw.
Report courtesy of the ECB