Nottinghamshire’s Paul Coughlin fell for 11 as England Lions collapsed against spin in a nightmare third day evening session against the West Indies A at Trelawny, Jamaica.
They will now need a spectacular bowling performance to avoid going 1-0 down in their three-match unofficial Test series.
After allowing the home team to recover from 114-8 to reach 279 all out and claim a first innings lead of 27, the Lions had battled back to parity at tea on the third day with a determined second-wicket partnership of 52 between Haseeb Hameed (39) and Nick Gubbins (20).
But after the loss of Gubbins in the first over after the interval, making it 60-2, only Joe Clarke (31) and Ben Foakes (20) were able to take the fight to the home spinners Rahkeem Cornwall and Jomel Warrican.
And the dismissal of Clarke triggered an even worse slump as the last six wickets fell for 14 runs in the space of eight overs.
Warrican, a 25-year-old left-arm spinner who had earlier made a career-best unbeaten 71 and provided superb support to a century from the experienced Test wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich (119), earned figures of 23.3-12-33-7, to leave the Windies needing only 106 to win.
Kieran Powell and John Campbell started positively in the 15 minutes remaining, and although Jack Leach had the left-handed Campbell driving to Liam Livingstone at slip with the last ball of the day, the home side will resume needing another 75 with nine wickets remaining.
Leach now has four wickets in the match, although it was Livingstone who finally broke the ninth-wicket stand of 161 between Dowrich and Warrican after a morning session which was as bizarre as it was frustrating.
Heavy morning rain forced a half-hour delay, then the bowling crease subsided under the front foot of Toby Roland-Jones when he attempted his first delivery with the second new ball – and that meant no more play before lunch.
Dowrich had completed his sixth first-class century off that single Roland-Jones delivery, and moved to 119 before Livingstone had him snapped up by Gubbins at leg slip off a top-edged sweep.
Last man Jeremiah Louis was quickly yorked by Livingstone, but the Lions made a grim start to their reply when captain Keaton Jennings was caught behind for a duck cutting at Cornwall, who had opened the bowling with his off-spin.
That was a clear indication of the challenges to come, but both Hameed and Gubbins showed their skill to play with increasing comfort in the afternoon session – although their efforts were not rewarded on the scoreboard because of an appallingly slow outfield.
The loss of Gubbins, edging Warrican to Jermaine Blackwood at slip, was a big blow, and Hameed followed for 39 eight overs later, bowled on the back foot immediately after being dropped at mid-wicket.
Livingstone fell cheaply to leave the Lions on 81 for four, but Clarke and Foakes responded positively, with the Surrey wicketkeeper lofting Cornwall for the Lions’ only six of the match.
Clarke fell for a busy 31, caught behind off Warrican, and the loss of Foakes chipping Cornwall to mid-on in the next over was a blow from which the Lions could not recover.
Coughlin did make it into double figures, helped by four overthrows, but he was the first of three wickets to fall to Warrican on 132 – with Mason Crane the victim of a superb reflex catch by Vishaul Singh at short leg.
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