About the Match
The much awaited day-night test match between England the West Indies is about to get under way. This will be the first time that England plays this version of Test Cricket while their opponents have already participated in one such match against Pakistan.
Under normal circumstances, a match against the West Indies in home conditions would leave England the overwhelming favorites. No doubt, England is still the favorite but a young side, inexperience with the pink ball has people wondering if the West Indies may have an outside chance here.
England may not have enough time with the pink ball but that does not mean they are short of cricket. They just beat a strong South African team 3-1 and all the players were released to play county cricket afterward.
Yes, there are a couple of inexperienced players in this lineup but that was also the case against South Africa. Mark Stoneman has been confirmed to make his debut for England and will look at this opportunity to cement his place ahead of an important Ashes series.
The same will hold true for Tom Westley and Dawid Malan. These three batsmen will know that they will have tougher tests than a weak West Indies side in the upcoming year and so scoring runs here will be crucial.
Most of the batsmen in England barring Root, Stokes and Bairstow have been short of runs. Alastair Cook has got a few fifties recently but a player of his stature will consider those failures. It has been a long time since Cook scored a hundred and the West Indian bowlers could find themselves paying the price.
The batting depth that the presence of multiple all-rounders provides England is priceless. Moeen Ali at 8 is easily worth his weight in gold at the moment.
The bowling attack for England is also very strong. James Anderson showed that against South Africa that he may have lost some of his pace but the swing and control are absolutely intact. Both Anderson and Broad will be licking their lips before facing up to West Indian batsmen that have shown poor temperament and fortitude in the past.
Toby-Roland Jones, Ben Stokes, and Moeen Ali are all excellent bowlers and form an attack that will give no breathing space to the West Indians.
There is very little expectation from the West Indies ahead of this tour. There has been some reconciliation between the star players and the West Indies board but a concurrent Caribbean Premier League has meant that all of the well-known stars are not in the test squad. There is also the real possibility that they just do not want to play Test cricket anymore and we will just have to get used to that.
Still, the players that are here have done pretty well in the warm up matches so far. Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Kieron Powell, and Roston Chase have all scored runs while Kemar Roach has been in the wickets.
The teams that they were facing were not the highest quality but the West Indian players would have gained some confidence none the less.
We think that Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieron Powell at the top of the order will set the tone for the West Indian batting. Braithwaite is known to be an effective plodder while Kieron Powell was found out against some short pitched bowling by India.
If these two are able to blunt the new ball then the West Indies can dream of setting up some challenging totals otherwise we fear it will be tough for the middle order against the relatively new ball.
There is talent in this side. Both the Hope brothers, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood and Shane Dowrich have the ability to score runs. It is just the question of adapting to the conditions and concentrating for long enough where they may be found out.
It will be interesting to see if the West Indies include Devendra BIshoo for the test match or rely on Chase to bowl his off-spinners instead. A bowling attack of Kemar Riach, Shannon Gavriel, ALzarri Joseph and Jason Holder could be tricky if the ball starts to move around a bit.
The West Indies must strive for early wickets otherwise the English batsmen will run them ragged as the pink ball starts to soften up. There is nothing to lose and no expectation from the West Indies so hopefully, they will approach the game with fearlessness and positivity.
Pitch and Conditions
The surface at Edgbaston is expected to have a lot of bounce and carry in it for the seamers with plenty of movement on offer for the first couple of days. It will the kind of surface where the bowlers will dominate the first couple of sessions but then flattens out to be a wonderful batting surface.
The weather forecast is good and promises clear skies for most of the test match.
England is just too strong for the West Indies and seems to have every single base covered. We think this match will struggle to extend into the fourth day.
England to wi