Men in maroon aiming for maiden success at National Cricket Stadium in St. George’s against England
Kraigg Brathwaite, whose record-breaking innings breathed some life into a dreary draw in Barbados, will lead the same troops into battle for the 3rd Test at Grenada on Thursday (24 March). The skipper, who faced a Test record of 673 deliveries overall in his two superbly patient innings, will surely be hoping that this series decider will not be competed on yet another lifeless pitch.
Straw-coloured and intermittently cracked surfaces in the opening two Test matches in Antigua and Barbados have favoured batsman and offered very little to the bowlers. And the cautiousness of England captain Joe Root, whose late declarations killed off any chance of a winner, has made these contests difficult to get excited about. With the usual vocal home supporters staying away in droves, sadly the ambience has been as flat as the pitches so far.
Yet there could be something for Caribbean fans to cheer about soon. A stalemate at the National Cricket Stadium in St. George’s would result in the West Indies capturing the inaugural Richards-Botham Trophy, which has replaced the Wisden Trophy. This is because England have not won a series in the Caribbean since 2004.
Ailing England sit rock bottom of the World Test Championship table, and have managed to triumph in just one of their past 18 Test matches.
In contrast the West Indies are revitalised, brimming with confidence since their enthralling 3-2 T20I series success over England at Barbados’ tight Kensington Oval in January. However, in the long format the Windies have failed to register a victory in four Test series since last year’s 2-0 success in Bangladesh.
Barbados’ Brathwaite, who hit a resilient 160 in the first innings then made an unbeaten 56 in the 2nd Test at his home ground, could call on Bajan all rounder Kyle Mayers and Trinidadian uncapped medium pacer Anderson Phillip to up the ante in Grenada. The pair both missed out on competing at the historic Kensington Oval.
Grenada has been success for both seamers and spinners in the three Tests played at this venue. However, the West Indies have yet to win at the National Cricket Stadium. They were held to a draw against New Zealand, then tasted defeat to both Bangladesh and England.
England, who stuttered to 48-4 in their opening innings of this Test series, won by nine wickets in Grenada in 2015. However, it would need a total collapse from the West Indies for a repeat of that feat, especially as the hosts have a plethora of batting talent to choose from including the Jamaican trio of Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner and left-handed opener John Campbell.
Desmond Haynes, Cricket West Indies’ chief selector, enthused: “We decided to stick with the same squad and want to see them continue to give a big effort in the third Test match. We really appreciated the fighting spirit from the batting department.”
WI 3rd Test squad | Jermaine Blackwood (Jamaica, vice-capt.), Nkrumah Bonner (Jamaica), Kraigg Brathwaite (Barbados, capt.), Shamarh Brooks (Barbados), John Campbell (Jamaica), Joshua da Silva (Trinidad, wicketkeeper), Jason Holder (Barbados), Alzarri Joseph (Antigua), Kyle Mayers (Barbados), Veerasammy Permaul (Guyana), Anderson Phillip (Trinidad), Kemar Roach (Barbados), Jayden Seales (Trinidad)
8-12 March | 1st Test (Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, Antigua)
WI drew with England
England 311 (100.3 overs) & 349-6 declared (88.2 overs)
West Indies 375 (157.3 overs) & 147-4 (70.1 overs)
16-20 March | 2nd Test WI v England (Kensington Oval, Barbados)
WI drew with England
England 507-9 (150.5 overs) & 185-6 declared (39.5 overs)
West Indies 411 (187.5 overs) & 135-5 (65 overs)
24-28 March | 3rd Test WI v England (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada)
Remember to share this article on Facebook and other Social Media Platforms. To submit your own articles or to advertise with us please send us an EMAIL at: [email protected]