England v West Indies: What We Discovered

Joe Root and Jason Holder were both respective captains in the England v West Indies test match series. England won the test series 2-1

England v West Indies Series Summary

England v West Indies. A series that offered so much. Yet, the visitors fizzled out after putting in a superb performance at the Ageas Bowl.

After an absence of cricket in a vacant sporting summer, we have now completed the first series of a congested schedule ahead. England fought back to win an enthralling #Raisethebat Test series 2-1 against the West Indies, despite losing the first match at Southampton. The hosts went on to win both back-to-back Tests at Old Trafford, Manchester to regain the Wisden Trophy for the final time in its current guise.

England Win The Wisden Trophy 2-1: Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes Steal The Show

Here’s what we discovered during the series between England and West Indies across the last three weeks.

Old Faithful

Stuart Broad and James Anderson have taken the most wickets in test matches for England Cricket as of 2020.
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – AUGUST 20 : Stuart Broad and James Anderson of England talk during the third day of the 3rd Specsavers Test Match between England and India at Trent Bridge on August 20, 2018 in Nottingham England. (Photo by Philip Brown/Getty Images)

Stuart Broad and James Anderson are invaluable to England cricket. As if we didn’t need reminding, the two leading English wicket-takers of all time are still highly important to the success of the England national side. This, despite their advancing years.

The Selectors seemed to believe they could cope without Broad especially in the first Test. Only for him to return to the side and play a huge role in the turnaround, claiming Man of the Series and picking up his 500th Test wicket along the way.

Whilst at some time in the near future both men will hang up their bowling boots, perhaps in the meantime fans and selectors alike should simply be grateful for what a wonderful duo we are baring witness to.

Travelling Woes

England v West Indies Shannon Gabriel was Man of the match at the Ageas Bowl
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 11: Shannon Gabriel of the West Indies celebrates with teammates after bowling Ollie Pope of England during day four of the 1st #RaiseTheBat Test match at The Ageas Bowl on July 11, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

In test cricket, travelling is widely renowned as one of the most difficult aspects of the game. Vastly different conditions often await visitors who can struggle to adapt to their new surroundings.

The West Indies squad to their credit came to the UK in the most extreme circumstances, in order to get cricket back on. They have spent over seven weeks in a bio-secure bubble, cooped up by the same four walls for much of their trip. In truth, by the end of the campaign, they looked ready to head home, to the warmer climates of the Caribbean.

West Indies cause wasn’t helped by the missing players, those who without any blame attached refused to travel given the current uncertainty of the world. There is no doubt the runs of Darren Bravo, in particular, was a huge miss from the tourists batting lineup.

Right Man for the Job 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 16: England captain Joe Root at the toss alongside West Indies captain Jason Holder and Match Referee Chris Broad prior to Day One of the 2nd Test Match in the #RaiseTheBat Series between England and The West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford on July 16, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB)

After missing the first Test on father duties, Joe Root returned to lead England to successive wins and turn the series around in the host’s favour. Not to say Ben Stokes was at fault for the first Test defeat. His Man of the Match performance in the second England v West Indies test when he was relieved of his captaincy duties suggests that he is best left to doing what he does best without any added responsibilities. For now at least.

Superman Stokes

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 20: Player of the Match Ben Stokes of England is interviewed by Sky Sports after victory on Day Five of the 2nd Test Match in the #RaiseTheBat Series between England and The West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford on July 20, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB)

Bringing us nicely on to that man Ben Stokes, his performance, in the second Test, in particular, was one of the extraordinary proportions. He scored over 250 runs and three wickets, carried the team to a win to claw England’s way back into the series. In what was, barring Stokes’s brilliance, an evenly fought second England v West Indies test match.

Having now moved to number one allrounder in the World, the sky is the limit in terms of possibilities for the Durham man.

The Best Of Ben Stokes

Bat, bat, bat

England v West Indies Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley both scored centuries
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 16: Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley of England punch gloves during Day One of the 2nd Test Match in the #RaiseTheBat Series between England and The West Indies at Emirates Old Trafford on July 16, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB)

W. G. Grace once said “When you win the toss – bat. If you are in doubt, think about it, then bat. If you have very big doubts, consult a colleague – then bat.” Never a truer word was spoken. Obviously it isn’t an all-encompassing rule, certain circumstances, in particular weather and pitch may dictate there is no sense in batting first.

However, during this series Windies captain, Jason Holder won both tosses in defeats for his side, electing to bowl in in-different conditions both times. Both decisions proved incorrect as England batsmen worked through what little movement there was with the new ball and posted damaging first-innings totals.

Pace Is Not Everything

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Mark Wood of England celebrates dismissing Shai Hope of the West Indies during day five of the 1st #RaiseTheBat Test match at The Ageas Bowl on July 12, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB)

Once more this series has proved pace isn’t, in fact, everything. Broad, as we have already discovered, had a remarkable series, his tally of 16 wickets in two matches far and away eclipses the pacier Jofra Archer’s four wickets, also in two Tests. Another paceman Mark Wood was packed, possibly instead of Broad for the first Test, taking two wickets in the match.

Broad may be considered far from slow, however, the obsession with the speed gun stating over 90mph sees the Nottinghamshire man fall short, although his skills earned him plenty of scalps. The quicker men, outside of Shannon Gabriel were somewhat overshadowed throughout the series. The seam bowlers and spinners took the bulk of the wickets.

England were perhaps guilty of forward-thinking. They clearly see Mark Wood and Jofra Archer as their two pace weapons. The Ashes 2021 Down Under is approaching quick. As a result, the England v West Indies series may not have meant as much. Maybe, just, maybe. It is a case of short term loss ( first test), for long-term gains. However, Broad outperformed both in this series. It just illustrates how pace is not everything.

The summer has kicked off in a brilliant sense and English cricket will be forever thankful to the tourists for coming over in such extenuating circumstances. Should the upcoming action be close to what we have seen in this series, we are in for a treat.

England v West Indies was certainly a great series. We perhaps couldn’t have asked for more entertainment post lockdown.

England v West Indies Awards

England Man of the Series – Stuart Broad

West Indies Man of the Series – Roston Chase

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