New look England seeking to bounce back in 2nd test
West Indies v England Test series…
– upbeat Windies team ready for challenge
The second test match is scheduled to start today, Thursday January 31 from 10:00h at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound Antigua. After a 381-run defeat in the first test match, the English team have been forced to make wholesale changes to their starting XI. England’s opening batsman Keaton Jennings will be axed from team, with 32-year old Joe Denly set to debut. After encountering difficulties, with beg bugs, England’s pace ace, Stuart Broad will
return to the team, while left-arm spinner Jake Leach is in contention.
Joe Denly has waited years for a test debut, after playing 189 First-class matches scoring 10986 runs. Denly who is seen as a white-ball specialist in the white-ball format, has an exceptional red-ball career. The right-handed top-order batsman, Denly has 27 First-class centuries and 54 half-centuries, with a high score of 227 averaging at 36 in 325 innings he batted.
Meanwhile, James Anderson partner in crime, Stuart Broad returns for his 125th test match replacing axed leg-spinner, Adil Rashid who was sent back to England. In many ways, England’s capitulation in the first Test was the very best of British comedy. The misdirection of a 3-0 series win in Sri Lanka met with the assurance that whatever propensity they had to capitulate overseas was banished to history.
Then the pratfall: 77 all out and, just as it looks like they’re rising to their feet to reclaim some dignity, one last humbling. That’s another thing – somehow, the way England capitulated for 246 were worse than the 77.
The pitch at Antigua is expected to turn and even though that could have played
into Jennings’s hands given he averages 44.4 in Asia (his career average is 25.86), Denly had a case for himself with his part-time leg spin coming in handy potentially.
If Root wants control, he’ll likely side with Leach given Moeen’s batting adds little at the moment: across 16 innings since the start of 2018, he is averaging 16.75.
West Indies, they have been making all the right noises. Their comprehensive opening win is one they will not take for granted and you are inclined to believe them. The manner of victory was different to previous success over England. The hosts dominated three-and-a-half-days of cricket and even when it looked like they were about to cede some initiative, if not the game, Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich ground them into the dust.
Stitching performances together will be the biggest challenge. Physically, the only issue is may be Shannon Gabriel, who was having trouble with his landing foot during the first Test. But beyond that, they go into this fixture with more clarity than a week ago. If there is spin to be had, perhaps left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican might be someone to consider. But when you’ve got an off-spinner who has just taken eight for 60 (don’t ask), then you’re probably good. It’ll be fascinating to see how Roston Chase goes here after the high of Bridgetown. England has a new Boogeyman.
One thing to look out for will be England’s recent history of bouncing back after opening defeats. The West Indies will likely play the same winning combination, depending on the surface; Jomel Warrican will add the spin variation on the slow Antigua surface. England on the other hand, has shortlisted 12 players for the test; Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (C), Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Ben Foakes, Sam Curran, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson, Jack Leach.