ST LUCIA: After conceding the first two Tests of the three-match series against the Windies, England will look to salvage pride with a win in the final game in St Lucia, starting on Saturday, 9 February, reported ICC.
The visitors have found it difficult to cope with the intensity of the Windies, who have dominated all departments, and have been particularly exceptional with the ball. Their bowlers have picked up all 40 wickets on offer so far, restricting England to totals below 200 three out of four times.
Kemar Roach has been splendid, and is the top wicket-taker of the series with 13 scalps at 12.07. Roston Chase and Alzarri Joseph have been excellent, with eight and seven wickets respectively. And with their batting going good – almost every batsman has contributed at different points – the home side has provided a visceral thrill.
This time around, however, they have to cope with a major blow – the unavailability of captain Jason Holder, who has been suspended for an over-rate offence. He scored a masterful double-century in Barbados, and has led from the front in crucial moments during the series. Kraigg Brathwaite will stand in as captain, but England will be buoyed.
The visitors, however, have plenty of issues to solve, foremost among them the need for a stable opening partner for Rory Burns. Joe Denly, who replaced the out-of-form Keaton Jennings in the second Test, scored just 6 and 17 in Antigua.
Joe Root, the England captain, has also been unable to bring his best to the fore so far, with scores of 22, 4, 7 and 7. Burns and middle-order batsman Jonny Bairstow have been England’s best bets with the bat, but even they have averaged under 30 so far.
Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have carried a bulk of the responsibility with the ball, but will need support from the rest of the line-up in St Lucia. Sam Curran has under-performed so far and will be desperate to improve, while the absence of Ben Stokes at training on Thursday – he has a bruised heel – is cause for worry.