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Cricket: West Indies v England 3rd Test Preview


West Indies v England                                                                 

Third Test, March 24-28        

National Cricket Stadium, St George’s, Grenada (2pm UK)

The opening two Tests in Antigua and Barbados really have been tough to watch. Flat, lifeless pitches with little on offer for the bowlers.

Fingers crossed it will be different this week when England turn up at a venue where they won by nine wickets seven years ago. 

Joe Root starred with a superb unbeaten 182 on that occasion, while Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson claimed a four-wicket haul apiece – Broad in the first innings, Anderson in the second.

That was actually the last Test played at this Queen’s Park ground.

In three Tests played at this venue, the first of which was in 2002, West Indies have drawn against New Zealand and lost to Bangladesh and England.

There has been success for both seamers and spinners, a theory strengthened by the last couple of domestic first-class games played there.

England to break the cycle and pinch it

I have tipped England wins in the opening two Tests and have fallen short. 

I wouldn’t say I was way off the mark because Joe Root and co have made the majority of the running in the series so far, thwarted in last-ditch victory bids twice on day five. 

With an upturn in fortunes with the bat, some hard-working bowling displays and the thought that you very rarely go through a Test series these days without a positive result for some one, I am going to continue with my trend.

I think England will come away with the victory here, which is best priced 5/4 with a number of bookmakers, including bet365.

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I actually think they will freshen up the bowling attack as well, potentially including two spinners in Matthew Parkinson and Jack Leach.

It would be a Test debut for Lancashire leg-spinner Parkinson, which many pundits and supporters have been crying out for this winter, including the late, great Shane Warne prior to his passing at the start of the month.

Leach has been superb, let us hope he gets his rewards for endeavour in the nick of time

The Somerset left-arm spinner has taken 11 wickets in just short of 170 overs so far, leading England’s attack manfully. 

He has been far, far superior to his opposite number, the West Indian left-armer Veerasammy Permaul.

Leach has definitely deserved more rewards, and he may well get them in the final leg of the tour.

On the evidence of Antigua and Barbados, he is the obvious choice to be England’s top first-innings wicket-taker at 3/1 with bet365.

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His 11 scalps leave him as the leading wicket-taker in the series, and he has bowled more than double the amount of overs (168.3) than anyone else from either side.

I would also be keen to dip into the 12/1 betfair are offering on him to be the player of the match in Grenada.  

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