3rd Test preview: England v West Indies
A series decider at Lord’s is the stuff of dreams for fans and players alike but will it turn into an England nightmare?
The home side came unstuck against the West Indies in seam friendly conditions at Headingley exposing the flaws of a team that relies heavily on its allrounders.
The West Indies batting rose from the dead in Leeds led by a pair of hundreds from Shai Hope and the grit of Kraigg Brathwaite but they remain the underdogs.
They will now have the self-belief that has been sorely lacking in the longest format of the game for some time.
Like England their top-order has a number of players who could be seen as passengers but coach Stuart Law will be hoping that persistence pays off as it did with the younger of the Hope brothers.
Shai came into the second Test with an average a touch over 18 but always looked like he had the potential to grow into a top class batsman, his brother Kyle and Kieran Powell might start to feel the pressure as the two top-order batsmen yet to make a meaningful contribution in this series.
England meanwhile sport a trio of players who have yet to nail down their place on the Ashes tour later this year in Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan.
Fifties for Stoneman and Malan at Headingley might just about have done enough to see them book their places for the trip down under but Westley’s spot at number three appears to be less stable after four successive single digit scores.
England have brought back Toby Roland-Jones as Chris Woakes’ bowling failed to live up to his pre-injury form and England were left short of penetration with the ball as Stuart Broad also struggling with the new ball.
Skipper Joe Root has had to come in early often in this series and has been consistent while he may feel a really big score is due.
On the brink of 500 wickets James Anderson remains England’s leading bowler and he will need to bring his best to halt the resurgent Windies batting.
Brathwaite holds the key to keeping that fragile West Indies top order together.
Shannon Gabriel needs to get his no-ball problem under control, if he does he could prove deadly to the English top order.
England XI (confirmed): Tom Westley, Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Joe Root (c), Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonathan Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Toby-Roland Jones, 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, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel
Last five head-to-head results
2017 Second Test: West Indies won by five wickets at Headingley
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
September 7-11 2017
11am start (BST), Lunch 13.00-13.40, Tea 15.40-16.00, Close 18.00
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney, Marais Erasmus
TV Umpire: Sundaram Ravi
Match referee: David Boon
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