England v West Indies
English Test cricket continues with the West Indies arriving for a three Test series. It is the first time in five years the West Indies have played Test cricket on English soil. They come with a relatively inexperienced and unknown squad, even though the cricket board and players recently came to a resolution over the long-running pay dispute. The reason is many of their star players had already agreed to play in the Caribbean Premier League, which coincides with this Test series.
Alastair Cook and Joe Root are the backbone of England’s top and middle order. They averaged 33.50 and 57.63 respectively in the recent Test series against South Africa. All-rounder Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow also play important roles with the bat and between them they scored one hundred and five fifties against the Proteas. The other positions are not so settled. Tom Westley probably bats at three and Dawid Malan at five, even though they only combined for 157 runs from eight innings against South Africa. Keaton Jennings has been replaced by Mark Stoneman at the top and the left-hander is expected to make his debut at Edgbaston.
Off-spinner Moeen Ali was England’s leading wicket-taker against South Africa and his ten-wicket haul at Lord’s was outstanding. Newcomer, Toby Roland-Jones, showed plenty with the ball and not many people knock over Hashim Amla twice on debut. Jimmy Anderson’s swing troubled the Proteas and will be just as challenging for the West Indies. Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes did not get the rewards, but they will be better for the run and might cause the West Indies bastmen a few headaches.
Roston Chase was the star with the bat against Pakistan earlier this year. He averaged over a hundred for the series and made triple figures twice. He is a patient right-hand batsman and will be required to solidify the middle order once again. Their other key batsman is vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite. He averages mid-thirties and showed some resistance last year in Australia, making 85 and 94. The opener will shoulder the responsibility with Kieran Powell at the top of the order. The rest of the batting line-up is largely young and inexperienced.
Captain, Jason Holder, is their all-rounder. He has only played 23 matches, but it feels like he has been around much longer. He averages thirty with the bat and has a Test hundred, but is more of a bowling all-rounder and should get the ball moving in England at around 130 km/h. Their other quicks are Alzarri Joseph and Shannon Gabriel, while Kemar Roach has been recalled to the squad. His pace and aggression was on display in Australia eight years ago, the problem is he can leak runs.
England defeated South Africa 3-1 in their four Test series. It was a convincingly performance and puts them in a strong position against the ninth ranked West Indies. The West Indies lost their last Test series to Pakistan 2-1 which means they have not won a Test series since 2014, when they beat Bangladesh 2-0. The positive is their last Test series against England was a drawn series. It was played in the West Indies in 2015 and ended 1-1.
England’s last home Test series loss was against Sri Lanka in 2014. Since then they have defeated India 3-1, Australia 3-2, Sri Lanka 2-0 and South Africa 3-1. They also drew against New Zealand 1-1 and Pakistan 2-2.
The West Indies last won a Test match in England in 2000. Since that match, the West Indies have drawn 4 and lost 17 Tests in England.
The overall record between these two teams in the last 30 Tests is England 18, the West Indies 3 and there have been 9 draws.
First Test – 17 August, Edgbaston
West Indies $12.00