England vs West Indies, 3rd Test, Preview – Jason Holder’s men brace for resurrection after hosts draw level

England vs West Indies, 3rd Test, Preview – Jason Holder’s men brace for resurrection after hosts draw level

After losing the second Test, the visitors are likely to make some changes at the top of their batting order.

Joe Root & Jason Holder
Joe Root fist bumps with Jason Holder. (Photo by JON SUPER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

West Indies cricket has been plagued by inconsistency in the last decade or so. It hasn’t been any different in their ongoing Test series against England. After taking an all-important 1-0 lead with the Southampton victory, they went down by 113 runs at the Old Trafford in Manchester. On the fourth day of the second Test, the match seemed well poised to be a draw, but the visitors lost their way.

With the series on the line, England and Jason Holder’s men would lock horns for the deciding contest, starting Friday, July 24 in Manchester itself. Caribbean coach Phil Simmons wasn’t happy with their top-order batting by any means and has been mulling some changes. Their team management earlier suggested that players from the reserves may also be tried out for the last Test.

England, on the other hand, would be pretty relieved that they managed to drawl level and has a chance of clinching back the Wisden Trophy. The hosts found themselves in a bit of shambles prior to the game after Jofra Archer was ruled out due to breach of bio-security protocols. But the likes of Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran made sure that the Three Lions didn’t suffer hiccups.

However, bearing in mind their rotation policy, the Brits’ bowling lineup could undergo some changes. But they can’t afford to undermine the West Indies batting, keeping in mind their show at the Rose Bowl. Though the visitors lost last time in Manchester, historically it has been a happy hunting ground for them, winning seven out of 16 Tests with their last win coming in 1988.

Playing Combinations

England

On Tuesday, July 21, Jofra Archer was tested negative for COVID-19. Hence, he got clearance to play the third Test. If he comes in, then the axe is expected to come down on Sam Curran, who, statistically was England’s least effective fast bowler in the previous encounter.

James Anderson and Mark Wood didn’t play the previous game and it remains to be seen if they make their comeback. The 34-year-old Broad, after being dropped for the first Test, stamped his authority with a stupendous spell in the second innings.

In batting, Jos Buttler got 40 in the first innings, but needs to show more consistency. It goes without saying that the onus will again be on Ben Stokes, the current number one Test all-rounder. Dominic Bess, being the lone spinner, has been pretty reasonable as well.

Predicted XI– Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Root (C), Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Sam Curran/Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Dom Bess

West Indies

Shai Hope and John Campbell have come in the firing line after a string of poor performances. The former hasn’t performed in his last five Tests and even veterans like Curtly Ambrose reckons that he should be given a break to gain back confidence. Gibson seemed a tad unhappy as well.

Even as Hope has only 57 runs, Campbell has managed 52 runs. The Caribbean management earlier talked about including players from the reserves. If that’s the case, then Shayne Moseley, who has an experience of 28 first-class games with three centuries and 10 fifties, might get a go.

22-year-old Joshua de Silva hammered an unbeaten 189 at the top in the second intra-squad warm up match and is also an option. Their bowlers were excellent in Southampton, but went into a bit of a slump last time. It will be interesting to see how Holder’s men take the field with a new zeal.

Predicted XI– Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell/Shayne Moseley, Shai Hope/Joshua de Silva, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder (c), Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph.

Head to head

Played- 159, England won- 50, West Indies won- 58, Drawn- 51

Stat Attack

9 – Stuart Broad needs another nine wickets to become the seventh overall and second England bowler to join the 500-wicket club in Test cricket.

200 – Kemar Roach (197) is on the brink of 200 Test wickets.

Broadcast Details

Match timings – 11:00 am local time, 3:30 PM IST

TV – Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony Ten Sports 1, and Sony Ten Sports 1 HD

Live Streaming– The match can be streamed online at Sony LIV.