West Indies vs England Test Series: After a historic whitewash on the Lankan shores, England have set themselves for the Caribbean groove. Since 1968, the Poms have won just one test series here back in 2003. The series though will be remembered better for Brain Lara’s 400* which remains the highest individual score in a Test inning.
West Indies Squad
Jason Holder (capt), Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican, Oshane Thomas (cover for Joseph)
Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Ben Foakes, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes
Shamarh Brooks who played U-19 world cup for the Windies has been included in the test squad. He is an all-rounder who has a batting average of 33 in FC cricket. He’s also a part-time leggie.
Another uncapped player in the West Indies squad is John Campbell. The Jamaican lad opens for his FC side & averages 30.06 in 55 games. According to reports from Cricinfo he is set to make his international debut.
Darren Bravo is making a comeback in the test squad after a 3-year gap. England, on the other hand, have gone with an unchanged that defeated Sri Lanka 3-0.
Mark Wood has been called in as a replacement for Olly stone who has suffered from a stress fracture.
Now let us analyse the history of both the teams to see who is favourite to win the series
Not a good record at home for the hosts
When it comes to Test matches West Indies’ record at home is not so impressive. They have won only 9 series while losing 16 of them since 2000.
What does West Indies need to do right to overcome the English Challenge?
West Indies won the 2009 series against England because their top order scored runs. The likes of Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brendan Nash scored the bulk of runs at the top.
Barring Roston Chase, the Windies top-order has struggled against quality bowling line-ups. The likes of Kraig Braithwaite, Shai Hope, and Shimron Hetmyer have to come good if the Windies envisage a tightly contested series. Their ability to play long innings seems to have hit an all-time low.
In the above graph we have excluded the performance of the players against every test playing nation except Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe
Although Shimron Hetmyer is not scoring hundreds, he has scored runs consistently for his team in 2018.
There is a clear difference in the performance of the top order when West Indies were at least winning at home compared to their performance over the past two years.
Windies’ struggle against spin continues
Despite winning the series in 2009, West Indies’ inability to play spin bowling was evident as Graeme Swann finished the 5-match series as the highest wicket-taker with 19 wickets. England have a potent spin attack this time around with the likes of Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, and Jack Leach who are travelling to the Caribbean Islands after an impressive performance in Sri Lanka.
Not a good record against pace too
Since the upcoming series will be the battle of pacers let us look at the performance of England and West Indies batting line-up against the quicks.
Not able to make early inroads
West Indies have been the worst team when it comes to picking wickets with the new ball since 2015
But the current West Indies bowling line-up has the ability to compete with the English men at least in the pace department. In fact, they have performed better than then the English fast bowlers in the past year.
The odds are against West Indies. On current form, England are a far superior side. But at home, if the West Indies top order manage to put some runs on the board, they’ve got a mercurial bowling line-up which is able enough to make life difficult for the English batsman.
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