England to avenge Windies defeat?
Last updated: January 31, 2019 by Leon Marshal
There were few positives to take from England’s performance in the first Test shock defeat at the hands of the West Indies. Will this defeat act as a wakeup call for the Three Lions?
As far as preparation for a World Cup in your own country goes, England’s first test match of the year was a total disaster. The damage already was done by the time England took to bat for the second innings. A great batting performance and a woeful performance had left the England batters an unenviable task of scoring 628. This was never going to happen but at least the batting performance of 246 all out was better than the abysmal figure of 77 all out in the first innings. It still meant a humiliating loss by 381 runs with the West Indies completing the task with a day to spare.
In days gone by a defeat by the West Indies wouldn’t have been a shock. In their heyday between 1984 and 1991, West Indies were feared as a team. Featuring the legendary talents of Sir Vivian Richards who scored 8,540 Test runs. A shy man in public but fearless at the crease, never wearing a helmet whilst at-bat in his long and incredible career. Richards’ immense skills were complemented by the equally legendary Brian Lara. Many older readers, myself included, will have spent many an hour trying to emulate Lara’s heroics on the original Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
This West Indies team is a pale shadow of that legendary team at Test level. The salvation for the West Indies fans has come in the form of the Twenty20 competition. At that level, they won the 2012 World Twenty20 to take their first ICC world championship since the 1979 World Cup. They also won the 2016 edition, beating England in the final.
Yet despite this success in the T20, Test performances have been poor from the West Indies and in the latest Test rankings, only two teams sit below them. England sits third with South Africa and India above them.
Therefore an England team featuring the experienced Roe Root with 77 Tests to his name, 36-year-old James Anderson who is just 4 shy of 150 Tests and the influential Jonny Bairstow in their ranks should have had on paper, an easy run-out as they prepare for a busy competitive year.
This would prove not to be the case with England often making life easy for the West Indies.
Posting a relatively modest 1st innings tally of 289, the Windies outstanding performers with the bat were the openers with the first three at bat, K. Brathwaite, J. Campbell and S. Hope scoring 40, 44 and 57 respectively. Bravo went cheaply for 2 but Chase and Hetmyer regained the West Indies stride with 54 and 81. The rest of the order went all without scoring except Holder who took 5 off 8 balls.
England fans are no strangers to England batting collapses and like a bad penny, it once again showed its ugly face. The optimism of the travelling Barmy Army was soon crushed when England crumpled to 77 all out. Only Jennings, Bairstow, Curan and Rashid hitting double figures with 17,12,14 and 12.
England’s hopes rested on the Windies suffering a similar collapse but Dowrich’s 116 and Holder’s 202 meant this was never real and the West Indies, knowing the first Test was in the bag declared at 415.
It was always mission impossible rather than mission probable in England’s final session at the crease. Perhaps in the knowledge, they couldn’t perform any worse than last time with the bat, England scored 246 in the second innings. Burns as opener scored 84 runs off 133 balls but it was once again a West Indies player who would take the headlines with Roston Chase doing the damage with a career-best tally of 8-60 with the ball.
Despite the margin of the win, the bookmakers believe the West Indies first Test result was a bit fortunate. They believe England will bounce back with 8/13 for a Three Lions win. Windies are 11/5 to repeat their heroics and the draw is priced @ 7/1.