THE series stands 1-1 as England and West Indies head to the iconic Lord’s for the final blow.
The change of ball fetched change in fortune for West Indies. The pink ball had decimated Jason Holder’s fragile brigade while the red one brought them back in the pink. The team that had lost 19 wickets in a day chased down over 300 to level the series.
The team that had conceded runs in abundance bowled out England for a meagre 258 on the opening day of the second Test. Although dropping catches remained a constant variable, West Indies managed to design a code for an improbable victory.
England have announced an unchanged squad, retaining all 13 men. However, they had made a solitary change in the XI for the second Test, replacing Toby Roland-Jones with Chris Woakes. It was not that Roland-Jones was less effective at Trent Bridge, but adding Woakes further sparked the star-studded team. That being said, Woakes could not make fatal inroads with the ball at Headingley, taking a mere 2 wickets in 33.2 overs. The change, however, is reversed for the third Test, as England announced the XI.
Starting XI for England are: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Joe Root (c), David Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Moeen Ali, Toby Roland-Jones, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
West Indies had made two crucial changes after the embarrassing defeat. Alzarri Joseph made way for the fit Shannon Gabriel while Miguel Cummins was replaced by leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo. While Bishoo had scalped 2 wickets, Gabriel had gone a step ahead, rocking the English batsmen with raw pace and bounce, downing six men. The changes, in the end, rendered the visitors a historic win, also thanks to Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope’s temperaments.
Likely XI for West Indies are: Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder (c), Kemar Roach, Devendra Bishoo and Shannon Gabriel
The batting conditions wear off as the game progresses at Lord’s. The average first-innings score reads 318, second innings 299, third innings 259, and fourth innings 157. There is also the (in) famous slope that, all the more, plays on batsmen’s mind and finds a mention.
England have batted first on both occasions. Given the above scores, Holder would hope that the coin does not elude his call.
The weather in London will remain partly cloudy on the first day. However, showers are expected to push the game into ruins on the second, fourth, and fifth day.
What does history have to say?
The last time West Indies won a Test series in England was in 1988. Viv Richards’ brawny brigade clobbered the Englishmen 4-0 in a 5-match series. A humiliated, confused England management had to use four captains during the series. Since then, West Indies have lost 4 and drawn 2 series in England.
England: Joe Root (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Mason Crane, Toby Roland-Jones.
West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Shane Dowrich (wk), Shai Hope (wk), Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Devendra Bishoo, Kyle Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Miguel Cummins.