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ENG v WI, 1st Test Preview: Massive challenge awaits the Windies as they lock horns with England

This series is going to be all the more tough for the Caribbeans as the best sides in the world failed to make little impact in the English conditions.

Jason Holder of West Indies
West Indies. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)

South Africa were left humiliated in the final Test against England and that gifted the hosts a much-needed victory. Joe Root began his stint as a skipper with a resounding and historic win as they defeated the Proteas for the first time in over 20 years at England. The hosts will enter this contest against West Indies as hot favourites and a fightback from the latter is least expected in this historic day/night Test. This will be the first time England will play with the pink ball.

West Indies cricket’s turmoil doesn’t seem likely to end soon. They are unable to find the right permutations and combinations to put forth a fight against any team of the Test playing nations. This series is going to be all tougher for the Caribbeans as the best sides in the world failed to make little impact in the English conditions.

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Having said that, there’s no place for any sort of complacency for the hosts. If they let the Windies settle into the conditions and offer them anything easy, the British will have to face certain predicaments.

Toss: England won the toss and opted to bat first

Playing XI:

Windies: Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich(w), Jason Holder(c), Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph, Miguel Cummins

England: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Joe Root(c), Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow(w), Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Toby Roland-Jones, James Anderson

Focus will be on-

Ben Stokes (England)

Stokes is someone who manages to grab the limelight no matter where he goes, what he does. Such is the aura of the young all-rounder, who currently has the world at his feet. He’s been a pivotal contributor to his side’s recent triumphs and is always in the thick of things. Stokes is beginning to become more authoritative with his batting and he might take up the number 6 position with the bat.

Kraigg Brathwaite (West Indies)

One of the few Windies batters who looks solid with his basics, Brathwaite will have a crucial role to play. Though he hasn’t been scoring runs at the right times, he has the talent and probably is the best batsman West Indies have as of now. If he can manage to pull off something spectacular, Windies will have some hopes of defying the odds.

Playing Combinations

England

Cook will be opening the batting alongside Keaton Jennings, followed by Tom Westley at number three. The middle-order has been stubborn and resilient in recent times and again, they’ll have a crucial role. Skipper Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Dawid Malan will comprise the middle-order and the visitors will have a horrid time dealing with them.

Toby Roland-Jones seems to be enjoying International cricket a lot as he’s off the mark with a bang in the white jersey. The ever reliable pair of Anderson and Broad will certainly prove to be tough nuts. All-rounders Moeen Ali and Stokes have been crucial in recent times for England and it’d be needless to say they have a big part to play in this historic Test.

West Indies

Kieran Powell and Brathwaite will open the batting for the visitors. Shimron Hetmyer will have to take up the incredibly tough No. 3 position to go with Shae Hope, Roston Chase, Vishaul Singh, Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder shouldering the responsibility in the middle.

A lot will depend on how the quick bowlers perform. Kemar Roach is returning to the side, but he probably won’t make it to the XI. Shannon Gabriel has the pace to make an impact, but English batters will pose a challenge of a lifetime for him and his teammates Alzari Joseph and skipper Holder. Chase and Bishoo are the two spinners who will line up for the Windies and if they wish to sneak Roach in, the wrist spinner will make way for him.

StatAttack

5 – This will be the fifth ever day/night Test in cricket history.

579 – The highest total registered by a team in a D/N Test. Pakistan scored these runs against West Indies at Dubai.

13 – James Anderson is 13 short of 500 Test scalps.

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