BATTERED IN BARBADOS

Apparently it was a gut feeling from Joe Root when he, decided to omit Stuart Broad for the first test against the West Indies in Barbados. For what it is worth I think he may well have been advised by somebody to show his strength and be bold by leaving out the most in form bowler judging on their paltry preparation. Unfortunately the power play did not work and not much else did as England were THRASHED by the West Indies in the first test of three on their tour of the West Indies.

CAPTAIN CLUELESS

People will say that the leaving out of England’s second highest wicket taker in test cricket was not the reason they were well beaten, but what it did was set the tone for the match. A captain thinking I can play around with the team, play 2 spinners at a ground that they hardly ever thrive (even Shane Warne struggled at the Kensington Oval) and where fast bowlers have proven to be the most effective. Whoever Joe Root is taking advice from, he needs to stop listening, that 3-0 win over Sri Lanka (where everything he tried paid off) has seemingly made him far too arrogant as the complacency shown has been alarming. Whilst the tourists were clearly favourites due diligence was not taken and they have come into this series thinking they would win with whatever team. It is like they were already looking ahead to the Ashes, THAT TAKES PLACE IN THE ENGLISH SUMMER JOE!!!!!!! What is even more worrying is that in a post match interview he tried to claim that nobody knew how the pitch would play at the start, well the hosts did, sorry Rooty – this is on you and the people in your ear, oh sorry I mean your, ahem, gut.

SAME OLD SAME OLD

For the record, England lost the toss and bowled averagely in the first innings, the 2 spinner selection a joke as Joe Root even bowled himself. An admission of a mistake in team selection if there ever was one. If you actually look at the 11 picked, it was like they were packing the batting, Rashid at 10 has a number of first class 100’s. Ironic that they managed to get bowled out for 77 in the 1st innings and whilst there was a little bit of backbone in their 2nd attempt, they collapsed from 134-1 to 246 all out, a huge worry, especially when you consider Roston Chase, who is an occasional part-time spinner, collected 8 wickets. In between despite reducing the hosts to 61-5 in their second innings, they only managed one more wicket and the West Indies set them a target of over 600 runs and we all know how the run chase ended.

HUGE CREDIT TO THE HOSTS

For all of England’s shocking efforts, the home side were absolutely outstanding. Captain and man of the match, Jason Holder, led from the front superbly. Picking a team with 4 fast bowlers, disciplined batting in their first innings, seeing off the new ball, knowing that England’s selected team was powderpuff and they posted a score of close to 300. Bowling the opposition out for 77 – their pace attack as key to this as much as the oppositions joke batting – they didn’t enforce the follow-on and even though they had a mid innings collapse second time round they stabilised and ended up with Holder (202 not out) and Shane Dowrich (116 not out) having a 295 run partnership before the declaration and the inevitable victory. West Indian cricket has struggled at test level in recent times, but they always have been tough to beat at home and they showed that they have to be taken seriously and not just seen as cannon fodder. Maybe that is what spurred them on and their hapless opponents just couldn’t handle it.

HOME ADVANTAGES

So what next? Well the West Indies would take a 1-0 series victory now, and as we stand are in full control of the series. They can flatten out the pitches in the final two tests (Antigua is next up which is notorious for batting being on top of the bowling) and make them batter friendly to make it very difficult for England to get the 20 wickets needed to actually win a test match, though the way the tourists have batted so far, there is no guarantee they will be able to score enough runs. Obviously England will need to make changes, Broad will be picked now, because Root has to admit he has messed up big time, you might imagine Jack Leach might also get in as a spin option, but who for is anyone’s guess. The visitors will need to gamble a bit with selection because if they want to win the series they need to win the 2nd test. I have not even mentioned Chris Woakes, who you would suspect would also be very effective on these surfaces. One things for sure, anybody who thought that England, riding high after a 3-0 win in Sri Lanka, would just need to turn up to win this series, has been proven wrong, scarily it seems the  visiting captain was one of those people.

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