#NewsBytesExplainer: Will West Indies script history in England?
International cricket is set to resume with England hosting West Indies for a three-match Test series in July. The hosts will look to have the edge early on, in a bid to reclaim The Wisden Trophy. Meanwhile, a revamped West Indies will be aiming to improve their poor Test record in England. Here is why the Caribbeans could script history, this time around.
When West Indies clinched the Wisden Trophy in 2019
Last year, the West Indian side gave a glimpse of its dominant show after defeating England 2-1. The visitors were beaten all ends up in the first two Tests. In fact, they were bundled out for mere 77 in the first innings of the series opener at Kennington Oval. In the second Test as well, they could muster only 187 and 132.
Fast bowlers tormented the England batting line-up
The West Indian fast bowlers stole the show against England. Kemar Roach perturbed the England batsman with his impeccable line and length. He was the leading wicket-taker, having taken 18 wickets at an average of 13.89. Shannon Gabriel and Alzari Joseph also picked up 9 and 10 wickets respectively. Captain Jason Holder also chipped in with seven scalps.
Dominance of Caribbean pacers
The West Indian pace attack has made its presence felt in recent times. Fast bowlers Kemar Roach (59), Shannon Gabriel (52) and Jason Holder (44) have shared 155 wickets from 16 Tests at an incredible average of 26.17, since 2015.
A solid batting line-up
Over the years, West Indies have struggled with the opening pair in Test cricket. However, Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell seem to have solved the opening woes. Moreover, Shai Hope's meticulous technique will be further useful to negate the swing. In the previous series, skipper Holder scored a blistering double ton, while Shane Dowrich and Roston Chase were also among the runs.
Brooks, Cornwall could dent England's plight
The contemporary West Indian contingent appears to be more dynamic. Middle order batsman Shamarh Brooks, who slammed a 214-ball 111 against Afghanistan, is expected to bolster the batting line-up in Shimron Hetmyer's absence. Right-arm spinner Rahkeem Cornwall also carries the x-factor and could prove fatal on the England decks. He has snapped up 13 wickets from two Tests at 22.61.
Will spinners rule the first Test?
England's Moeen Ali (17) is the leading wicket-taker at the Ageas Bowl Stadium, in Test cricket. He is followed by James Anderson (13) in the tally. Clearly, West Indies would want to use Rahkeem Cornwall and Roston Chase wisely in the series opener.
History beckons for West Indies!
The West Indies squad has already arrived in England and is currently serving the 14-day quarantine protocol. As per the schedule, the first Test will be played at the Ageas Bowl from July 8-12, while the Emirates Old Trafford will host the second (July 16-20) and third Test (24-28). The visitors will be eying their maiden series victory in England after 1988.