Second Test preview: England v West Indies

Countries

On the evidence of the first outing the West Indies will have to have improved phenomenally if they are to compete against England in the second Test at Headingley.

The visitors batting was dreadful in the first Test in Birmingham as they failed to make England bat again.

We are unlikely to see wholesale changes to the West Indies XI however as new coach Stuart Law seeks to keep faith with this group of youngsters.

There were brief glimpses of quality in the first clash from Jason Holder’s men with Jermaine Blackwood’s unbeaten 79 coming at quicker than a run a ball.

This series looks to be a mismatch even with England carrying three young batsmen who a struggling to impress in the shape of Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan.

Even hundreds against this West Indies team may not impress their staunchest critics but if they want to be in the shake up for the Ashes they will need to put some runs on the board.

England’s batting has deepened with the return of allrounder Chris Woakes who replaces Toby Roland-Jones in the XI.

Woakes has been perhaps England’s best quick over the last twelve months and he is capable of pulling off rescue jobs with the bat as well.

The core of England’s current strength comes from their wicketkeeper, skipper and allrounders who form a strong middle-lower order spine and each of Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes can put in match-winning performances.

Headingley is traditionally a result wicket and there should be plenty in it for both sets of quicks.

Key Men

Alastair Cook often seems to be the man who guides England through top order collapses these days, he will be charged with keeping his team in the ascendency from the get go.

Stuart Broad could prove to be the dangerman with the ball this time around as he approaches 400 Test wickets.

Kraigg Brathwaite needs to insulate the fragile West Indies middle order against the new ball if they are to have any hope of competing.

Kemar Roach could have a ball at the swing-friendly Leeds venue but he will need to be more consistent than he was in Birmingham.

Teams

England XI (confirmed): Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

West Indies XI (likely): Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder (capt),  Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel

Last five head-to-head results

2017 First Test: England won by an innings an 209 runs at Edgbaston
2015 Third Test: West Indies won by five wickets at Bridgetown
2015 Second Test: England won by nine wickets at St George’s
2015 First Test: Drawn match in North Sound
2012 Third Test: Drawn Match at Edgbaston

Details

August 25-29 2017

11am start (BST), Lunch 13.00-13.40, Tea 15.40-16.00, Close 18.00
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney, Sundaram Ravi
TV Umpire: Marais Erasmus
Match referee:  David Boon

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