West Indies v England Test second Test preview and tips from Richard Mann

Roston Chase
Roston Chase

Richard Mann previews the second Test between the West Indies and England in Antigua with the visitors on the back foot following their crushing defeat in the first Test last week.

Recommended bets: West Indies v England second Test

2pts Roston Chase top West Indies first innings runscorer at 15/2


England saw their recent golden run in Test cricket come to a juddering halt with a bruising defeat in Barbados and Joe Root's men head to Antigua for the second Test on Thursday needing to bounce back quickly in order to keep alive their hopes of winning a third series on the bounce.

England began their tour of the Caribbean in buoyant mood following victory over India last summer and a landmark 3-0 success in Sri Lanka before Christmas but Root's luck at the toss finally ran out last week and as we have seen before, his side looked shaky when unable to enjoy the best of the conditions, particularly with the bat.

West Indies' first innings score of 289 was probably slightly under-par but with runs on the board, Kemar Roach exploited England's top-order frailties once again and Root apart, the tourists' batting just doesn't look to have the durability to bat for long periods of time when under pressure from the opposition or conditions.

That might be slightly harsh on rookie Rory Burns who looked an accomplished opening batsman in making 84 in the second innings, while Jos Buttler appeared to be in decent touch in his second dig and is surely a better fit at number six than seven.

Keaton Jennings is still to convince, however, and might be facing his last rites now while Jonny Bairstow is patently unsuited to be batting at number three when the ball is moving sideways.

Whether the Yorkshireman is returned to the middle order and asked to be keep wicket again is something the selectors will be seriously considering following Ben Foakes' quiet game in Barbados, though the latter was excellent in Sri Lanka and is the best gloveman at England's disposal right now.

One thing for sure is that Stuart Broad will be returned to the XI following his omission in the series opener, with Sam Curran under pressure and Adil Rashid also expected to miss out, the latter possibly at the expense of Jack Leach if England deem that the conditions again require two spinners.

The hosts have fewer worries in their camp, though like England, they might feel a second spinner is required in Antigua, especially given the success Roston Chase enjoyed in the second innings last week.

Roston Chase
Roston Chase

Jason Holder's magnificent double hundred provided the fireworks in a wonderful second-innings partnership of 295 with Shane Dowrich, which killed off any hopes of an England comeback following a flurry of late wickets late on day two, but James Anderson and Ben Stokes' inroads on the first day demonstrated that the West Indies' own top order is far from bombproof.

Anderson swung the Dukes ball with exceptional control in the first innings, sending down 30 immaculate overs to finish with figures of 30-13-46-5, and as long as he is able to recover from his heavy workload last week, expect him to cause the hosts plenty of problems once more.

With Broad expected to reform a new-ball partnership with Anderson that has now claimed 1000 Test wickets, England could easily turn the tables this week, though quotes of 8/15 - given the obvious importance of the toss - make little appeal.

Still, Broad and Anderson should enjoy plenty of success up front and given facing the new ball might be the hardest time to bat for the West Indian line-up, Chase could be well placed coming in at number five.

Hundreds in two of his last four Tests - against Bangladesh and India - would suggest Chase has his game in really good working order at present and he played nicely for his first-innings half-century last week.

Chase has become an integral part of this West Indies line-up, his canny off-spin bowling proving a useful supplement to his reliable middle-order batting, and he is entitled to be full of confidence following his eight second-innings wickets in Barbados.

With 15/2 available for Chase to top score in the West Indies first innings, he looks worth a play.

Posted at 1335 GMT on 29/01/19.


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