- West Indies v England
- Second Test, March 16-20
- Kensington Oval, Barbados (2pm UK)
After a sticky start to the opening Test in Antigua, when they were four wickets down very cheaply, England recovered impressively to give themselves an outside victory chance on day five.
Centuries for Jonny Bairstow, Zak Crawley and captain Joe Root gave the side just what they have been so sorely missing over the last 12 months – a weight of runs.
The loss of Mark Wood to an elbow injury will be a big loss, especially on a Barbados pitch which is expected to have some more pace in it. His most likely replacements are either Ollie Robinson, who missed the first Test with a back spasm, or Lancashire paceman Saqib Mahmood. The latter would be a debutant following previous – and encouraging – limited overs international experience.
I was enthused by England’s performance last week and saw enough to suggest they can take the lead in the series over the next few days. They are even money with the likes of PaddyPower, betfair and Unibet to win the Test, a price I would be keen to take.
Roooooooooot to bring home the loooooooooot!
Joe Root has been not only been a class above his colleagues over the last year or so, he has been lightyears ahead of them.
He followed Jonny Bairstow (first innings) and Zak Crawley (second innings) to a century in the second innings in Antigua and looks very good value with betfair’s price boost on him to be England’s top first innings run-scorer in Barbados.
Betfair have him at 23/10 to be England’s top bat, too big to ignore.
Root has scored 24 career Test centuries, seven of which have come since January of last year.
Seales looks the real deal and should enjoy more pace in Barbados
Jayden Seales = Kagiso Rabada. Look at the 20-year-old Trinidadian’s action and it has so many similarities to that of the South African quick.
Seales was excellent in the first innings at Antigua, claiming 4-79.
He has only played five Tests so far, but has claimed at least three wickets in the first innings in four of those games – against South Africa, Pakistan and England.
He has been the West Indies’ top first-innings bowler in his last two Tests, including last week, and is an appetising 7/2 with betfair to do so again at the Kensington Oval this week.
He is behind favourite Kemar Roach (5/2), Jason Holder (11/4), Alzarri Joseph (3/1) and alongside Anderson Phillip – who didn’t play at Antigua – and the underwhelming spinner Veerasammy Permaul, who are also 7/2.
Looking at Seales’ stats – he has taken 20 wickets in his five Test appearances – it surprises me that he is not higher up on betfair’s list.
Let us hope the below piece by the Cricketer does not prove correct and we see him flourish at Test level for years to come.