“I found it very challenging up front,” Holder said. “Jimmy and Stokesy made us play a lot of deliveries in the channel, particularly Stokes with his angle and getting the ball to leave.
“He was a threat all day and credit to him, he made us work hard for our runs, but it was a really pleasing day, to bat up past tea and form the partnership that we did.”
Thereafter, however, England’s selection errors played emphatically into West Indies’ hands. In the absence of Stuart Broad, whose deck-hitting lengths would clearly have been an asset, the remainder of the attack – Sam Curran, Moeen Ali and the barely-used legspin of Adil Rashid – were unable to make an impact, with Moeen being thumped for three fours in a row by Holder when he joined the attack in the second hour.
“Two of them are two of the best bowlers in the world right now, and challenging, but Moeen we thought we could get him off the square a bit easier,” Dowrich said. “We didn’t discuss [batting at] any pace, it was just play the ball on merit, look to bat as long as possible, and tire out the English as much as possible.”
Holder then took a shine to Rashid as his hundred approached, twice flogging him into the stands for two of his eight sixes – a tally which broke Viv Richards’ record for an innings against England, at Antigua in 1986 during his 56-ball hundred.
“Rashid had mid-off up when he was round the wicket,” Holder said. “I felt with my reach and height, I could get closer and hit it over his head, I got one off the inner portion of the bat which got lucky, I was just shouting ‘go ball, go ball’, but it went over his head and I continued on.”
The only question as the partnership wore on was the timing of Holder’s declaration. With two full days still to come in the match, however, there was clearly never any rush.
“We wanted to declare at some point this evening,” Holder said. “It was important to keep England on their feet as long as possible. We wanted to wear them down as there’s still a lot of time left in the Test match and we didn’t want a silly declaration and make it too easy.
“We got to tea and thought we’d have another 45 minutes, then have a good crack this evening. But I don’t think we used the new ball as well as we liked, we’d have liked a few more deliveries to make them play a bit more.”
Both men, however, were confident that there would be plenty still in the pitch to exploit in the final innings.
“There’s a bit of spin and a bit of bounce,” Dowrich said. “There are a few rough patches outside off causing problems, so hopefully our offspinners can come into the game tomorrow.
“You have to err on the fuller side and take a drive or two,” said Holder of the seamers’ challenge. “We’ve got runs on the board, so we can afford to express ourselves a bit. There were occasions tonight when the ball did a bit but we were just a tiny bit too short.”