The exclusion of Stuart Broad meant that England missed a tall, hit the deck bowler in the first Test AFP

This was another sorry day for England. After the humiliation of being bowled out for 77 yesterday, the failed to take a wicket on day three at Kensington Oval as West Indies set them an improbable, insurmountable target of 628 for victory in the opening Test of the series. In theory, with two days remaining, England have the time, but this game is as good as over.

English supporters have become attuned to Test matches like this over the past five years. Although Joe Root's men had won eight out of nine matches before this one, although they had beaten India convincingly at home last summer and then whitewashed Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka before Christmas, England too often have a calamity in them. They have had them in India in 2016, against South Africa at home in 2017, in Australia last winter and even at Lord's against Pakistan last summer. And when a calamity begins, they really do go to pot.

It makes mugs of those who try to get an accurate reading of this team. Just when you think they have cracked it, they capitulate like they did yesterday against Kemar Roach and co. This was a series, remember, that some predicted England would win 3-0. Not now. At least, in the unbroken half-century stand between Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings late on the third evening, they have put up some sort of a fight.

It hasn't helped England's cause that their selection for this match has been found wanting. Leaving out Stuart Broad, the sort of tall, hit the deck bowler which the West Indies proved on day two is useful on this surface, has been an obvious error. Broad would at least have been able to share some of the workload forced on Anderson and Ben Stokes today after the struggles of Sam Curran and Root's reluctance to bowl Adil Rashid. Not that selection is the reason England are in this mess. That is down to the batsmen.

"Hindsight is obviously great when you're trying to read pitches and come up with a side," Jos Buttler said. "It's a brave, tough call for the guys to make but selection is not why we were 77 all out, that's the really biggest factor in the game. With the bat we were well below our standards. With our aim of being the number-one side in the world that is nowhere near good enough. It's probably a good reality check for us as a side, for where we're at in international cricket."

England didn't bowl particularly badly and despite the look of the scorecard, the wheels did not fall off. On a flat pitch which seems to have settled down from the second day, the seam bowlers ran in hard, none more so than Stokes who has got through 50.3 overs in this match. Anderson, the other effective bowler today, has bowled 48. For someone with a dodgy knee and a 36 year-old respectively, they are serious workloads. What effect that has on the pair for the rest of the series remains to be seen.

"It's tough to get the ball out of his hand," Buttler said of Stokes. "He's got such incredible skill and a massive heart and he wants to be in the action all of the time. He's an all-action cricketer. We have to manage his workload but it's tough to do that when he just wants to keep going. Of course the management and captain want to look after the players especially someone like that but try telling him not to be involved or to take a rest."

Elsewhere, the rest of England's attack was treated harshly by Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich in their unbeaten partnership of 295. Moeen Ali bowled well enough although didn't find much turn and, if anything, erred too full at times, while Curran, operating in the mid to high 70mph range, looked well short of being a Test match second seamer, although not, it should be said, for the want of trying. A towering six over long-off from Holder in the morning session against the Surrey left-armer was the shot of the day.

Strangely, Rashid bowled just nine overs in all. Given England spent more than 100 of them in the field, it was interesting that Root did not turn to Rashid more often. Perhaps it was because Holder had taken a particular liking to the leg-spinner, hitting him for four sixes in all, or the pitch wasn't turning as much as England had expected it might when picking him for this game on day one. Root instead decided to bowl himself and the medium pace of Keaton Jennings for 15 overs between them. Broad would have been a far better bet.

The tourists will lose this game but they have a good pitch on which to bat and ten wickets in hand. The very least they will want is to bat through the fourth day to give them some positives to take into the second Test in Antigua which begins next Thursday (January 31). A hundred for one of the top six would be welcome.

"We have to show an immense amount of character. We let ourselves down with the bat in the first innings and we'll be determined to have a much better showing in the second innings," Jos Buttler told BBC Sport. "The end result is irrelevant. We take it session by session and see where we get to. We have to show determination to bat really well, knowing that there are still two really important games to come in the series."