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England’s love affair with Old Trafford and Stokes’ incredible form

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Old Trafford will yet again play host for the third Test match in the ongoing #raisethebat series between West Indies and England. The series is evenly poised at 1-1 and the victor will take home the spoils in what is the first series since cricket’s resumption post the lockdown. 

Can West Indies upset the home side or will England reign supreme? We analyse.

A menacing record at Manchester

The English cricket team loves Old Trafford.

Since the turn of the century, England have played 15 Test matches at this iconic venue and after the first two matches, which was a draw against the West Indies and a defeat at the hands of Pakistan, England have owned teams on this ground.

They have won 10 of the last 13 Test matches here, drawing twice and losing only once -- the Ashes-retaining win for Australia in 2019.

Not only are England usually victorious at Old Trafford but they also thoroughly plummet the opposition in their wins. Of their 10 victories on this ground since the turn of the century, three have been by an innings, thrice by over a 100 runs and once by 10 wickets. The other three victories have been by seven wickets, six wickets and 60 runs, further proving that it’s usually a one-sided affair on this ground.

Can West Indies contain Stokes?

After an incredible performance in the second test, English all-rounder Ben Stokes moved atop the ICC all-rounders’ rankings for Tests.

The 29-year-old scored a century in the first innings before smashing the fastest 50 by an English opener in Tests in the second. He also broke the crucial fifth-wicket partnership between Shamarh Brooks and Jermaine Blackwood that opened the floodgates for the English attack to swoop in and win the game to level the series.

Stokes scored 255 runs in the match and picked up three wickets, showcasing just why he’s the No. 1 all-rounder in Tests. West Indies skipper Jason Holder and his men will have to find a way to contain Stokes if they are to have any hopes of winning the third Test and the series.

Images courtesy: AFP / Jon Super

 

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