England With Point To Prove After Windies Dominance
January 28, 2019
Joe Root’s Three Lions must throw off the shackles of an embarrassing 381 run defeat when they return to action in the 2nd Test against the West Indies on Thursday.
England were outclassed in every department in the first Test in Bridgetown, succumbing to a first innings score with the bat of just 77 all out. That’s 77 ladies and gents.
Much like we saw with Mitchell Johnson in the infamous Ashes series of 2013/14, England quite simply couldn’t handle the serious fast bowling offered up by the Windies.
Kemar Roach was lethal, picking up 5 wickets for just 17 runs, and his strike partner Shannon Gabriel wasn’t far behind, notching 92mph on his way to 1 for 15.
Battered in Barbados
England struggled to follow suit with the ball in the second innings with the hosts eventually declaring on 415-6, forcing questions as to whether the experienced Stuart Broad should have been included over the extra spinner. The answer, in hindsight, was a resounding yes.
Then came England’s final chance to rescue something with the bat. An opening stand of 85 between Burns and Jennings looked promising, with Burns going on to get his half-century, but that was about as good as it got. Bairstow, Root, Stokes and Buttler could only add an extra 112 runs combined and the tail could barely wag with Sam Curran the only one to get into double figures.
It was a Test match to forget for the Three Lions, but as England fans will have come to know over the Bayliss era, a heavy defeat is often followed by an emphatic victory. Cue a return for Broad and a five-wicket haul of his own.
Answers needed in Antigua
The Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua will be the venue for that attempted England turn around in the 2nd Test this week, a stadium where England have drawn both visits in Test match cricket, although the first was abandoned in 2009 due to the state of the pitch.
Captain Joe Root will at least have good memories with the bat from his two knocks in 2015. Alongside Ian Bell, the pair added 177 runs to England’s eventual first innings total of 399 with Root claiming 83 of those before being bowled by Jerome Taylor. Root went on to add a 2nd innings half-century as well, with Holder getting the better of him on 59.
A repeat of that performance will almost certainly be required from the England skipper in Antigua, a man who is without a first innings Test century in 20 matches and has just one first innings Test 50 in 13.
However, Root still holds an average of 64 with the bat in the Caribbean, despite that shocking first Test and if ever a captain’s knock was required to inspire his comrades, it’s right now.
A second defeat would seal the three-match series for the West Indies and with an all-important Ashes series on the horizon in the summer, that would be a massive dent in the Three Lions confidence with only a Test match against Ireland to come on home shores before the Aussies.
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As a qualified sports journalist, Luke has worked with nationally-recognised outlets covering events from the World Cup to the Grand National. Luke is one of the few men who has to admit that their father was the better footballer, but at least he can take comfort from the fact he got to see his Dad score at Wembley. When Luke isn’t talking football, you’ll normally find him following his other passion, horse racing and has his own horses in training with Paul Nicholls and Mark Johnston.