The Test series between West Indies and England started with a damp squib of a match in Antigua last week so everyone will be hoping for better when the two teams head to the Kensington Oval in Barbados for the second Test on Wednesday.
The opening draw means that whichever side comes out on top here will be guaranteed a share of the spoils ahead of the third match next week. With this series coming all one after the other you sense momentum from this match could be key too.
I think West Indies will be largely happy with their display in the opening match of the series. I don’t think the pitch in Antigua suited them either with the ball in hand or the bat so to come away with a draw in which they were never really in any danger of not getting represents a solid effort, one which they can build from when the chance arises on a pitch which is more suitable to their strengths, one which could potentially come here.
West Indies have a decent record in Barbados and it was only just over a month ago that they were beating England in a T20 series here. If they can bat well against the new ball in this match then they should have more than enough with the ball to be very challenging in this game. They will need to bowl a little bit better with the new cherry than they did in the second innings in Antigua but I think both sides realised the match was going nowhere by then.
When you consider how bad The Ashes was for England, literally any improvement would have been appreciated. To be fair it didn’t look like coming when they were 40 odd for 4 once again in their first innings. To their credit they rebuilt that innings and scored more than 300 in both innings for the first time in quite some while. Three of their batters got tons in the match and while the pitch offered up no demons, those runs are certainly no bad thing.
Where England do need to improve is keeping a full bowling attack on the park throughout the match and ensure they can maintain pressure on the opposition when they have the ball in hand. They were pretty ordinary with the new ball in the first game and that is something that needs to improve else the calls for the two legendary bowlers to return to the side will grow louder. They should have conditions to suit them here.
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West Indies are expected to go in with an unchanged XI from that opening match although there will be calls to replace Veerasammy Permaul if he delivers figures as poor as he did in the first game of the series. Kyle Mayers might need to wait for his chance.
England have confirmed they will make one change for this match. That sees Saqib Mahmood coming in for his Test debut. He will replace Mark Wood. Ollie Robinson was said to be fit but hasn’t been selected for the match.
Jason Holder covered his performance in the opening match of the series and I think he can go past a higher line of 128.5 points in this match. He totalled 152 points in the first game and although his line has gone up it hasn’t gone up to that level. The first reason why I think there is more to come from Holder in this match is because this is his home ground and he’ll know every inch of it like the back of his hand which is never a bad thing.
The other reason is there is likely to be more pace and in particular bounce in the wicket so his bowling, which only yielded three wickets in the first game, is likely to be much more effective in this match. We never really saw him able to expand with the bat in Antigua such was the sluggish nature of the pitch so the time he spent at the crease if replicated here would yield a lot more runs than it did there. I think when you total his scoring together in this match he’ll cover his performance once again.
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