The first test between the West Indies and England completely changed our view of the landscape of test cricket right now. West Indies’ opponents were near-disappeared as the home side buried them in runs and taunted the English with wickets. In the first innings, Kemar Roach’s five-for restricted England to a record low 77, only to face West Indies’ 415-6dec, thanks to Captain Jason Holder’s 202(229)*. After setting the visitors a record-mammoth target of 628 with two days to spare, part-time spinner Roston Chase’s eight wickets ensured England came nowhere near that score, holding the English prisoners for 246.
England will be sure to play some stronger cricket in the second test, starting on January 31st in Antigua and Barbuda at 10 AM AST (9 AM EDT). But exactly how can they strengthen themselves? The first and obvious issue was the batting. Obviously, the West Indies were far better, but one thing the Windies did which England couldn’t be a stable opening partnership. Both of West Indies’ opening partnerships were above 50 while England lost their first wicket for 23. The culprit in both? Keaton Jennings. In both innings, Jennings scored 17 and 14, and it’s best if Joe Denly gets himself a start up top.
Another strange anomaly which occurred for England was the exclusion of veteran swing bowler Stuart Broad. Young gun Sam Curran was picked over Broad, a mistake which proved to be fatal. Curran, who only took one wicket across both innings, might have to make way this time for Broad.
Leg-spinner Adil Rashid is confirmed out as he is returning to England due to the birth of his second child. This will most definitely pave way for Jack Leach, who has taken 20 wickets in just four matches at 24.9 runs.
There is unlikely to be any changes for the West Indian squad. A small layer of grass will be nice for the pacers, but the West Indians will treasure a batting wicket.
The second of three tests begins tomorrow at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground and will be broadcasted on Willow TV in the US, Sky Sports in the UK, PTV and Ten Sports in Pakistan, Sony in the rest of South Asia, and radio commentary will be available on BBC and Talk Sport.