Match: England vs. West Indies, 1st Test
Venue: Rose Bowl, Southampton, England
Date and time: July 08, 2020, at 3.30 PM IST
Preview: International cricket is back after a gap of almost 4 months as the lockdown measures have been eased in Europe. The West Indies are in England for a 3-match Test series, and while a few of the key West Indies Test players have been pulled out of this series, this could still turn out to be a very exciting month of international cricket. The West Indies, despite being the underdogs, beat the English team 2-1 in the last Test series they played in the Caribbean. England will be keen to avenge the loss and they do look a more balanced, well-rounded side compared to the depleted West Indies squad.
Weather and pitch conditions: The weather will be partly cloudy in Southampton during the course of the Test match, but no rain hasn’t been predicted on any of the five days. The temperature will remain in the range of 10 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius, which means it isn’t going to be too cold either. In short, the ideal temperature for Test cricket. There hasn’t been any county game played at the Rose Bowl in a while, so the surface might be favorable to fast bowlers at the start. The Rose Bowl is a decent batting track when the sun shines, but the team fielding first will be the one to fully exploit the pitch and weather conditions.
Probable Playing 11 and Key Players
Probable playing 11 for England: R Burns, D Sibley, Z Crawley, O Pope, J Denly, B Stokes (C), J Buttler (WK), D Bess, J Archer, S Broad, J Anderson
Probable playing 11 for West Indies: K Brathwaite, J Campbell, S Hope, S Brooks, R Chase, J Blackwood, S Dowrich (WK), J Holder (C), K Roach, A Joseph, S Gabriel
- S Hope is crucial to the West Indies’ chances. Even though he is struggling in Test cricket, he was superb on his last Test tour in 2017, scoring 375 runs at an impressive average of 75.00, headlined by a superb century to seal a stunning chase of 322 at Headingley.
- R Burns, who scored a respectable 380 runs at an average of 38.00 in last year’s Ashes, will look to continue his amazing form. Burns will be out to improve on his record of 145 runs at the average of 24.16 against the West Indies.
- K Brathwaite had a solid tour of England in 2017: 3 Tests, 283 runs, average 47.16. He can make an impact in this series.
- B Stokes, England’s star all-rounder, has scored 1,090 runs since the beginning of 2019 (avg. 47.39) and has claimed 30 wickets (avg. 32.60).
- J Holder will be crucial for the West Indies. Since the West Indies’ 2017 tour of England, Holder has transformed himself into one of the finest all-rounders in world cricket.
- J Anderson is back in England’s Test squad. He has the ninth-most Test wickets (82) in England-West Indies Test matches at a superb average of 22.15. In 2017, he blew the West Indies away with 19 wickets at an average of 14.10.
- K Roach has taken 71 wickets at an average of 21.28 since August 2017, which is better than the likes of J Anderson and T Boult over the same period. Also, he has 42 wickets in 10 Tests against England (avg. 26.59).
- D Sibley is set to play his first home Test. He has had a solid start to his career, with 362 runs at an average of 40.22 in six matches, including 133* earlier this year in South Africa.
Howzat Dream Team
NOTE: The suggested Howzat dream team is just a suggestion. You can select your own fantasy cricket team by using your knowledge of cricket. Also, don’t forget to make any necessary changes to your team once the actual Playing 11 is announced by each team (15 to 30 minutes before the start of the match) as some players you have selected might not be part of the playing 11.
Select your own team and play fantasy cricket!