CRICKET IS BACK!
After 115 days since the last international match, between Australia and New Zealand, cricket is set to resume with a three-match Test series between hosts England and West Indies on July 8, 2020.
Here is your full preview for the first Test between the two sides, that will commence at the Rose Bowl in Southampton at 3:30 pm IST on Wednesday:
Ben Stokes (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach
In the absence of Joe Root, who is awaiting the birth of his second child, all-rounder Ben Stokes is set to become the 81st man to lead England in an international match.
Ladies and gents, the latest addition to the Lord's bowling honours board!— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 7, 2017
Stokes gets his fifth to dismiss Roach. pic.twitter.com/EpXTTPCF63
Joe Denly retained his spot in the side and will likely bat at Root’s No. 4 spot, behind openers Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley and top-order batsman Zak Crawley. Stokes, Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler will wrap up the English batting lineup.
Veterans James Anderson and Stuart Broad will spearhead the English pace attack, while either Jofra Archer or Mark Wood will play the support role to the duo. Youngster Dominic Bess will likely be the spin option for his side.
Probable Playing XI: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ben Stokes(capt.), Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler(wk), Dominic Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
The Windies will likely retain the majority of the line-up that beat Afghanistan in their last Test match which ended on December 1, 2019.
Kraigg Braithwaite and John Campbell will open the innings for their side, with Shai Hope completing the top order. Sharmarh Brooks, all-rounder Royston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood and wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich will form the visitors’ middle order.
West Indies will likely opt for an all-pace bowling attack, which will be spearheaded by Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel. Captain Jason Holder and pacer Alzarri Joseph will be other two seam options for their side.
Probable Playing XI: Kraigg Braithwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Sharmarh Brooks, Royston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich(wk), Jason Holder(capt), Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph.
Scattered showers might play spoilsport on Day 1 and 2 of the Test match. However, the subsequent three are expected to be bright and sunny.
The temperature forecast is between 10-20 degree Celsius for all five days.
West Indies’ pace attack might prove to be a challenge for the English batsmen, however, the visitors’ erratic batting line-up will likely prove to be their bane in this series.
An easy victory is in the offing for England.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Christiaan Kotze