The big picture

So far, England’s tour of the Caribbean has been one for purists. Ten days of grueling cricket, interspersed with flashes of bright hope, and nothing yet shown in the book series for the efforts of both sides. Could this change, as Grenada is preparing to host a test match only for the fourth time in the 23-year international history of the venue? Rumors from Spice Island are about more spicy times … but it would probably be wise to keep our expectations in light of what we have witnessed so far.

Whatever happens in this latest test, both sides can already feel the spirit of competition they have shown in this series. The West Indies remain without a test win in 10 attempts since February 2021, while England’s current record is one win out of 16, so neither team has yet suffered another defeat, to be considered progress on both fronts.

For the West Indies, their captain Craig Braithwaite embodied the competitive enthusiasm that the region seeks to rekindle in its test cricket. His unusual refusal to fasten in Barbados secured him a place in the pantheon of batting – Jeffrey Boycott and Shivnarin Chanderpool, among others, would be proud of his tireless performance, even if Boycott in his Telegraph column were rightly concerned about the tedious nature of the field. little contributed to the growth of competition beyond the gloomy pursuit of statistics.

Despite this, England showed on the last day in each of the first two games a willingness to break the deadlock – first with bright statements batting, each time led by the unconventional game of Dan Lawrence, and then reinforced by an early barrage of gates when inherent in the West Indies fragility for a short time came to the fore.

In both cases, however, it was a fleeting glimpse. Despite Sakib Mahmoud’s impressive debut in Barbados, as well as several brisk turns and jumps for Jack Leach when he armed himself with a new sword, England has yet to demonstrate that it has the weapons to overcome such fatigue – unlike, say, Stunning raids by Mitchell Stark and Pat Cummins were able to make on the same flat decks in Pakistan.

For this reason, while it is true that a handful of spies alone cannot threaten the future of an inherently dangerous format – one whose death has been predicted for 145 years and counting – the problem of poor test fields should not be allowed to be ignored.

By all accounts, these aren’t the surfaces that the CWI ordered – after all, the West Indies, after all, had a more menacing list of fast cauldrons, and so would like more pace and rebound for work. It seems that the final decision was left in the hands of local councils in Antigua and Barbados, both of which valued the guarantee of five full days of patronage of the Barmi army more than a guarantee of the result. If the Grenada authorities manage to convince more to appreciate the spectacle than the end result, then who knows, they may also attract a few disappointed fans to their shores next time.

Away from the politics of the field, a lot is at stake, as the previous restoration of England reaches its first of what should definitely be a lot of mini-peaks. Lawrence and Zach Crowley have two young guns who can reliably pass the 2022 home season after last year’s tests; in Joe Ruth and Ben Stokes the team’s most important pillars look solid again after their fluctuations in the ashes, while Johnny Bairstowe’s restored focus on the red ball also remains here.

But there are a lot of things on this team that aren’t where they need to be. Alex Lees could make at least average innings to solidify his status at the top of the line, while Chris Wax’s toothless series did little other than confirm suspicions overseas that haunted him for most of his career. Due to the fact that Ollie Robinson’s fitness problems are recurring, and Mark Wood’s elbow injury leaves England more deprived of 90 mph / 145 km / h than ever after 2017-2018 Ashes, little has been said about them attacks on stitches that led James Anderson and Stuart Brod to early retirement.

And here comes the question of rotation. Leach was diligent, not threatening to break through the West Indies, while athlete Matt Parkinson stays on the sidelines, waiting for the moment to be trusted. However, it is possible that the chance was and disappeared – Barbados was where England needed his ability to overcome a well-established defense, but, as proved by the leadership in Brisbane and Adelaide last winter, they are quite able to pick the right team for the wrong test. They confirmed their side on Wednesday afternoon, and Craig Overton replaced Matthew Fisher as the only change.

Meanwhile, the West Indies will no doubt settle for more of the same. Braithwaite stole the show in Barbados, but it was a distant mission from his team. Nkrumah Bohner may have endured a rare quiet game in the second test, but a week earlier he had created the same unbreakable demonstration in Antigua, and Jermaine Blackwood’s bold and largely uncharacteristic hundred in Bridgetown embodied the extent of the West Indies. boosts its game when England is in town.

Given half the chance, the speed of the West Indies will certainly shut its mouth to show a similar commitment. Both Kemar Roach and Jaden Sils had their moments, especially on the first morning of the series, while mascot Jason Holder had, by his standards, a silent series against his favorite enemies. If he can rediscover even the form he showed in 2019, there is no reason to believe that the 0-0 lockout is the upper limit of the West India’s ambitions.

Handbook of form

(Last five matches; last first)

DDLLL of the West Indies

England DDLDL

In the spotlight

After his extraordinary feats of endurance in Barbados, this week it is difficult to look further for Craig Brathwaite for the focal point in the West Indies. If you fought for 16 hours in two innings to score 216 runs out of 673 goals in one test match, it is fair to assume that your view is at the center. However, Braithwaite objected when asked if the West Indies would seek to pick up the pace when the series is decided. He is very happy to have allowed England to come to him by asking questions that their bowlers had difficulty answering as they were kept in the field for 187.5 overs in the first innings last week. And on his observation, the West Indies gave themselves every chance to extend their proud unbeaten home record against England.


Jack Leach will play cricket for almost exactly four years until that test ends, making his New Zealand debut in March 2018. But, by his own admission, he still feels in that role after the Year of the Roller Coaster in 2021, which began and ended with some terrible reversal against India in Chennai and Australia in Brisbane, and covered a home summer in which he did not participate either in one trial. Lich’s efforts in the series to date are admirable – with 11 wickets at 26.36, he is the only bowler on both sides to reach double digits, while his number of 168.3 overs is almost 100 more than the next in number of bowls ( Stokes from 77). But in both trials there was a feeling that he could be bolder with his flight and veil and sought to drive out the West Indies rather than expect mistakes that never happened. Now that he feels more valuable as part of the setup, and with Graham Swan’s diet YouTube clips to get back to him, perhaps his attacking instincts may begin to materialize.

Team news

For the third match in a row, the West Indies are stuck with the same team of 13 people, which is a vote of confidence in Desmond Haynes, the head of the electorate, after a series of repulses – in particular, Braithwaite – were ready to dig deep into the case. However, there is a chance to retake this final match when Kyle Myers is on hand to replace Shamar Brooks, whose highest score in the bat-dominated series was 39 points. The painful question of workload should also be considered. Jaden Siles, for example, made 65 overs for his seven gates in the series. Given the rapid turnaround between the trials and the fact that at the age of 20 he is still not working, it may be wise to give him a break and hand over the debut to Anderson Philip, Trinidad’s fast-moving cauldron without quotes.

West Indies (possible) 1 Craig Braithwaite (captain), 2 John Campbell, 3 Nkrumah Boner, 4 Kyle Myers / Shamarch Brooks, 5 Jermaine Blackwood, 6 Jason Holder, 6 Jason Holder, 7 Joshua da Silva (Sun), 8 Alsari Joseph, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Veerasammy Permaul, 11 Jayden Seales / Anderson Phillip

In England, there was something to ponder on bowling betting, following a series of currents in which injuries and illnesses forced them to take both tests and perhaps taught them more about their staff than they could have expected. Robinson missed each of the first two back spasm tests, and despite the optimistic sounds, another outbreak stopped his involvement here as well. As a result, Wakes was postponed to a sentence whose role in foreign trials would certainly be over. Overton was also cured of an attack of the disease that afflicted him in Barbados. He returns to the place of Fisher, who failed no one during his debut and whose chance will reappear.

England 1 Alex Lis, 2 Zach Crowley, 3 Joe Ruth (Capital), 4 Dan Lawrence, 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Johnny Burstow, 7 Ben Fox (Sun), 8 Chris Wax, 9 Craig Overton, 10 Sakib Mahmoud, 11 Jack Leach

Terms and conditions

No one expects this kind of snort, which was filed in St. Lucia during England’s third last tour in 2019 – in which Mark Wood touched 96 mph on one of the fastest bowling displays in England’s history – but the signs are good for fast a cauldron on both sides, with a surface that seems to have a tinge of green on top, and the prospect of a slightly greater tempo and kerry than was the case in Antigua and Barbados. Cloudy weather is expected this week, but without rain. “It looks like a good cricket wicket,” said Phil Simmons, West Indies head coach.

Statistics and trivia

Grenada has not hosted test matches since England’s Caribbean tour in 2015, when the visitors comfortably won with nine wickets on the back of the undefeated 182 at some Joe Ruth.

The West Indies have yet to win a test match in three attempts at St. George’s. The first field test against New Zealand in 2002 was a draw (dominated by Chris Gale with a double century), while their other game in 2009 was famous for a rare victory in the foreign series of Bangladesh – although it was against the third-choice side The West Indies, weakened by a dispute with the team’s sponsors, Digicel.

Joe Ruth is minutes away from becoming the 14th man and the first since Eunice Khan in 2017 to reach 10,000 test runs. He currently lacks 116 runs with 8884 runs, and having made a century in each of the two previous tests, he is in shape to record them. If he does, he will also be the first of the so-called Big Four to reach the mark.


“Oli was not as good as we would have liked, or he was expecting himself. It’s just a disappointment for him as it is for me. He works a lot, but there’s something that bothers him. I’m not sure it’s a medical prognosis. ».

Joe Ruth, England captain, confirms that Robinson cannot be re-elected.

“In both test matches so far we had to make sure that in the first innings we reached the mark of 350-400. The situation will dictate how we will pick up the pace, because so far we have been happy that we have had a great partnership and three hundred in two test matches. ”

Phil Simmons, the head coach of the West Indies, wants more of the same application from his beatings.

West IndiesEnglandWest India vs. EnglandEnglish tour of the West Indies

Andrew Miller is the British editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket

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