Before cricket resumed, England’s pace bowling was expected to rule the roost against an average West Indies in the English conditions. On the contrary a disciplined West Indies bowling attack led by Jason Holder got better of the unsettled English batsmen in the first Test at Southampton.
As England captain Joe Root returns back, a new pace bowling combination will take the field for England in the second Test against West Indies in Manchester on Thursday, July 16.
Stuard Broad, who was left out in the first Test for the first time since 2012, will be back in action along with all-rounder Sam Curran, Chris Woakes and uncapped Sussex bowler Ollie Robinson, who all have been included in England 13-men “strong” squad for the second Test.
While Jofra Archer, who was the pick of the bowlers on the last day of the Southampton Test, has been retained, James Anderson and Mark Wood, the other two pacers part of the four wicket defeat in the first Test last week, have been rested by the England Team management.
Although the move has been seen in line with expected idea of rotating the pace bowlers across a six-Test home season, it could likely be an attempt to get back in the series riding on the new bowling attack
Joe Denly, as expected after two low scores in in the first Test, makes way for Root, who will bat at number 4 with Zak Crawley moving up at 3.
Commenting on the decision to leave Denly out, Root said, “It’s never an easy decision, never easy having to leave someone out.”
“With Joe (Denly) over a period of time he’s done a brilliant job for us, he’s helped show our identity as a side and how we played moving forward. It’s a very difficult decision but we’ve gone a different way.”
He backed Zak Crawely’s inclusion citing his progression. “You watch Zak’s progression since he’s been involved in the team, his game has continued to get stronger,” Root said.
England captain and management have decided to persist with wicket-keeper batsmen Jos Buttler.
“If you look at the way he (Buttler) batted in the first innings, that was technically as well as he played for a long time. I think his game is in a really good place and it’s a matter of time before we see some of those special innings that we’ve seen in white-ball cricket,” said Root.
A chance to create history
Other the hand, the visitors, who are expected to remain unchanged from the last Test, would wish to continue their momentum as they perceive a chance to create history if they win they second Test too. West Indies had last won a Test series 4-0 in England under Viv Richards back in 1988, 32 years ago.
However, the Windies skipper Holder insisted that a chance to end a series win drought in England won’t weigh them down.
“There is no pressure on us; we don’t get caught up in the off-field noise,” Holder said.
“We are just focusing on what we need to do to win the series. Winning the first Test is just the first piece of the puzzle and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.
“Yes, we have won one Test but that doesn’t change our strategy or plans. We are yet to get a 100 though we got starts and a few half-centuries.
“So it’s more for the batters to convert and kick on to get big scores. The bowling has been pretty solid.”
Opener John Campbell, who sustained a foot injury on the last day of first Test, has recovered.
All said it won’t be easy for the visitors, as England have history of fighting back after being 1-0 down in a series. On a record 17 instances the English team have pounced back, with the latest in 2019-20 South Africa where they went on to win the series 3-1 after losing the first Test.
Will England make a comeback? or, Will West Indies continue their resurgence under Jason Holder?
Squads for West Indies vs England 2nd Test
England squad: Joe Root (captain), Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (Wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
West Indies squad: Jason Holder (captain), John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wk), Rahkeem Cornwall, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, and Shannon Gabriel.