A hostile spell of bowling from Cumbrian star Ben Stokes offered some hope for England as they toiled to unsettle West Indies’ top order in the first Test in Antigua.

The all-rounder’s aggressive nine-over burst, which brought the dismissal of Shamarh Brooks, was a highlight of the the tourists’ second day performance.

West Indies reached 202-4 at the close in reply to England’s first innings total of 311, in which Stokes helped the recovery with a knock of 36.

Stokes had not initially been expected to bowl in the match because of a recent side strain, but the Cockermouth star’s determination was clear.

The 30-year-old will later aim to help England restrict the hosts further with the opening Test very much in the balance.

Stokes, on the eve of the series, had spoken in typically honest fashion about his eagerness to make his mark in the Caribbean after his return to action in the recent Ashes annihilation.

The Cumbrian had returned to the Test arena in Australia after an extended break to focus on his mental well-being and to rest an injured finger.

He has since decided not to be involved in the IPL in order to focus on his England commitments.

Speaking ahead of this series, he said: “Looking back on Australia, we’ve had some honest reflections not only as a team but individuals as well. I personally felt I let the team down with more than just performances: I would have liked to have been in better physical shape.

“When I look back on it I felt I let myself down but the thing that really grinds me the most and hurts me the most is that I let a lot of other people down and I never want to feel that way again. Everyone’s taken some good hard lessons from Australia.”