WI vs ENG – A summer awaits
WI vs ENG. Finally. Cricket is upon us. The wait is over.
In less than a week England’s summer of cricket will finally be underway.
When stand-in captain Ben Stokes will flick the coin into the air ahead of day one at the Ageas Bowl at Southampton, the wait will be over.
But where could the series be won and lost?
Here at LWOC, we have looked at the key battles that may decide the series.
This includes questionable batting, strong seam attacks and he spin department. We have looked at the top 5 key areas for the WI vs ENG test series starting July the 8th at the Ageas Bowl.
England’s Top Order Woes ( WI vs ENG)
The problem that simply will not go away. Since Alastair Cook hung up his batting gloves, England has struggled to find a combination at the top of the order.
Many have been tried over the last 18 months with varying levels of success. Dominic Sibley, Rory Burns and Joe Denly seem most likely to start the series. Keaton Jennings and Zak Crawley will, however, both have aspirations of forcing their way in.
A stable platform at the top of the innings is crucial to a successful Test match side. Over the years, the best teams have always had stable opening partnerships, something England definitely need to find the formula for.
The packed middle order and Root and Stokes, in particular, have spared England’s blushes on numerous occasions. However, they cannot continue to be relied upon so heavily.
WI vs ENG – Two Dangerous Seam Attacks
The West Indies, once a force in Test cricket, has not been having much success of late. Although the last time these two sides met it was the West Indies that came out on top. The West Indies won 2-1 in 2019.
Owing in the main to their young fast bowling attack, an attack which bundled out England on numerous occasions during the series. The West Indies pace attack will hope to test the fragility of the England batting line up once again.
Hoping to outshine their visiting counterparts, England boast a formidable seam attack of their own, particularly in what should be favourable home conditions.
The evergreen and fit again James Anderson will provide a stern challenge for the West Indies batsmen techniques. Backed up by Stuart Broad, Mark Wood and all-rounder Ben Stokes, England will be desperate to right the wrongs of last winters tour.
It is the new kid on the block, however, who could draw the most attention, from the public and the West Indies team meetings. Jofra Archer was born in Barbados and possesses raw pace. Jofra Archer burst onto the international scene in the last year and will be looking to impress once again.
Runs On The Board
There can be little doubt both sides batting is their weaker suit. We have already discussed England’s top order troubles, however, they are often bailed out by a strong middle and lower order.
The West Indies will be hurt by the loss of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmeyer, both refusing to travel with the squad due to the coronavirus pandemic. Two big losses to a batting line up which has struggled for consistency in recent times.
Packed full of ability, at times the West Indies batsmen have been labelled with not having the required temperament to succeed at the top level of Test match cricket.#
Ben Stokes v Jason Holder
The battle of the all-rounders is another that is sure to influence the outcome of the series. Ben Stokes has been England’s best player over the last year, remarkable individual performances and moments have seen the Durham man capture the hearts of a nation.
However, it is fair to say his counterpart Holder has been the Windies top performer through the same period.
Holder averages 32.72 in Test cricket and his highest score of 202* came against England last winter. Batting eight Holder often adds useful runs to the tourists lower order. A more than impressive bowling average of 26.37 makes the West Indies captain a worthy adversary for Stokes.
Spin It To Win It
Possibly the most unknown battle between the two sides will come in the spin department. Both sides have struggled to find a consistent spinner in recent years. Though, they have recently settled on Rakheem Cornwall and Jack Leach as their respective front line spin options.
England spin option Leach’s best moment in Tests to date has come with the bat in hand. He finished on one not out as part of a heroic Ashes Test match-winning partnership with Ben Stokes. With the ball he has taken 34 wickets in his first 10 Tests, taking five wickets in once.
By way of appearance Windies spinner, Rakheem Cornwall is the polar opposite of Jack Leach. The six-foot 5 inches tall off-spinner has played only two matches in his Test career. His best figures came recently against Afghanistan when he took 7/75.
Spin could play a crucial role in the destination of a series. Days four and five are when spinners can win matches for their teams or otherwise. Both teams possess part-time options to back up Leach and Cornwall.
Integral not only by way of individual performances, but captains must also lead from the front and have his team follow. England skipper Joe Root has faced some criticism in recent times.
His apparent refusal to bat three and attempt to shore up England’s top-order problems has to lead to questions over his leadership.
However, since taking over as captain Root has got a majority of things right, his form from his favoured position in the order at four has also been of an exceptional level.
Jason Holder has led from the front for his West Indies team. Both his performances with bat and ball have provided vital stability. He has also transformed himself into a consistent performer at Test level. His form, as well as his leadership, will be crucial to the Windies chances in the series.
England will go into the #RasieTheBat Test series as big favourites. But, recent contents between the two sets of sides suggest the hosts’ will in fact not have things all their own way. The winners of battles highlighted will play a major role in deciding the outcome.
Regardless of the result, every cricket fan in the world can be excited by the return to action.
WI vs ENG should be a great test series. We hope that the long wait was worth it!
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