West Indies and Sri Lanka have been making all the headlines in cricket recently, and it’s for all the wrong reasons. Both the teams have reignited a debate regarding whether Test match cricket should adopt a two-tier system, given how horrific both teams performances have been.
The visitors lost their last Test by a massive margin of an innings and 209 runs. 19 West Indian wickets fell in a single day. England dominated with the bat in their first match involving a pink ball. Cook led from the front, scoring 243 while Joe Root added 136. Their pacers then tore through the Windies’ batting lineup. Anderson, Broad, Roland-Jones, and Stokes took 15 of the 20 wickets to fall, out of which 2 were run-outs.
West Indies will be lucky to even earn a draw in this series. England are just far too dominant at home. Jermaine Blackwood was a lone beacon of hope for the visitors with the bat in the first Test, scoring 79 runs in the first innings, by far the highest score for them over both innings. They will need far more to even think of having a chance come Friday.
Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Dawid Malan, Toby Roland-Jones, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Chris Woakes.
Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach.
Where the Teams Stand
What else can you say about England? They have been performing like a well-oiled machine, outclassing their rivals in every department. When playing at home they have controlled the outcome of matches from very early on. In the first test, they lost two early wickets, and yet the partnership which came after that blew the wind out of the West Indies, sinking their ship on day one itself.
England are doing almost everything right, but their opening combination continues to be an issue. As it was only his first match, where he had one opportunity, Mark Stoneman will probably get another chance, but the onus will be on him to get a decent score and claim this long available spot for himself. Westley has been disappointing at 3, making just one fifty in five innings and scoring 8 in the last Test. He will not want to test Root’s patience.
England can afford to give Mason Crane a chance, despite reports emerging that he was selected mainly so he could gain experience by training with the national team. It also remains to be seen if Woakes will get an opportunity, but Dawid Malan’s 65 probably means that the captain will want the less experienced one get games in. This England side is several levels above the below average Windies squad, and bar any complacency, they are good to go with any combination.
Before we slice the West Indies apart for their atrocious display against England, there are a few things that should be pointed out. Most fans think the Windies would be in a far better position if senior players of the team such as Chris Gayle and others were in the squad. However, this is not the case. As the BBC pointed out in an article recently, West Indies have struggled in England since the time of Brian Lara, and that this is nothing new.
Roston Chase taking 4 wickets is an encouraging sign for the Windies amidst the mediocrity of Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph in the first Test, who persisted with half trackers outside the off stump. It was ordinary stuff from the captain who looked like he had given up on the first day itself.
The West Indian batsmen were regularly beaten by the English bowlers, as evidenced by so many of them being bowled, LBW, or caught behind. If Blackwood can do it, the rest can too. South Africa suffered from the same issue when they toured England, so it shouldn’t be surprising that a much younger Windies team is also finding it difficult to judge the ball against the fearsome English attack.
At RealSport, we recommended Sri Lanka bat first despite their low confidence levels, and the same advice applies to the Windies. Starting your innings with a 500 run deficit is never an ideal situation and batting first will give the Windies some amount of freedom that trailing by several hundred takes away. Like the Sri Lankans, the Windies have the potential to put up a decent fight, and they must do so with both bat and ball when they take the field.
England in 4 days.
Can the West Indies earn back pride after their first Test humbling, or will England again dominate? Let us know in the comments below.
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