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Cricket does itself no favors and the suspension of Jason Holder because of slow over-rates in a match that finished with over two days to spare is just the latest example of that. Cricket in the Caribbean is currently in the limelight and the region is rallying behind its young captain but he is not going to be playing this next match.
The series may be done and dusted but this is not a typical dead rubber. England is going to be playing just one more test before the Ashes and will be using this opportunity to uncover some more solutions while the Windies test side seems to be extremely motivated to hand out a 3-0 drubbing.
There are bound to be changes in both sides thanks to Holder’s suspension and the woeful performance that England has put up in the first two matches. The odds on the WIndies winning the test series 3-0 before the start of the series were astronomic but it is very much in the realms of possibility right now.
Kraigg Brathwaite has been named as the captain of the Windies test side in the absence of Jason Holder. Keemo Paul and Oshane Thomas have been added to the squad as potential replacements as well.
This is the biggest issue that is going to be facing the Windies ahead of the final test. Do they want to bet an out and out fast bowler on the fastest pitch in the Caribbean or go for an all-rounder similar to Jason Holder?
Of course, Keemo Paul is nowhere near the quality that Jason Holder has proven himself to be and Oshane Thomas is untested in the test match arena. We think that with the series in the bag, the Windies just may try to take the exciting option and add Oshane Thomas to the mix.
There has been a concerted effort to talk up pace bowling, intimidation, four-pronged fast bowling attack, and bring back exciting cricket to the Caribbean from everyone involved in the region. Adding Oshane Thomas seems like something they would do.
We don’t see any other change in the playing eleven apart from this one barring any injury concerns.
The Windies have been disciplined with the bat and their players have shown the hunger to dig in. We like the look of John Campbell and think Darren Bravo’s marathon fifty in the last match will do him a lot of good. Back these two batsmen to get some big runs in the final test.
As far as the bowling goes, Kemar Roach is going to be the biggest threat to the English batsmen once again. He does not have the pace that Shannon Gabriel has but he is very skilled. If Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph, and maybe Oshane Thomas can make the English batsmen uncomfortable with pace then Roach may be placed in the best position to reap the rewards.
Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Shane Dowrich, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel.
Being blown away by 381 runs in the first test and by 10 wickets in the second test would have shaken the English side. They came into this series as firm favorites and were expected to be ones doing the dominating, not being the ones that are running for cover.
Joe Root admitted they had made some selection errors in the first match but no one of the changes they made in the second test had a big impact either. What now for the final test of the series?
We think there is a very high likelihood of one of Chris Woakes and Mark Wood playing in this match in place of Sam Curran. England has to decide whether it needs the batting capabilities of Chris Woakes in its side to replace what Sam Curran was offering or whether going with the express pace of Mark Wood will serve it better.
We would personally like to see Ben Foakes be dropped in place of Keaton Jennings so that England can have a top-3 used to face the new ball and send back Jonny Bairstow to his position at 5. The gloves would also fall back to Jonny Bairstow. This is highly unlikely to happen as England would not want to be unfair to Ben Foakes after his brilliant series against Sri Lanka.
England is up against the pump and the bulk of the blame lies with the batsmen. The English batsmen have not shown an ability to buckle down and played just too many shots. The pitch at St. Lucia is expected to be quick and bouncy for this match and the task ahead of the batsmen is not going to get easier.
That being said, we definitely think the English batsmen are going to perform better in this match. Joe Root, Jos Buttler, and Ben Stokes are the three batsmen that we think will do well in this match. They are all middle order batters that like the ball coming on to the bat.
They are not afraid of counter-attacking and also have the defense to withstand tough spells. The popular perception of Kos Buttler is that of a dasher but he has shown himself to be a much more patient batsman in test cricket that he gets the credit for.
The bowling lineup for England was very good in the last match. They did not give any easy runs to the Windies and were eventually thwarted by a superior batting effort from the opposition. James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, and perhaps Chris Woakes will take up the bowling duties in this match.
This is a world class attack that will ask questions of the Windies batsmen. Ben Stokes is the bowler that we think will be the most successful if the pitch has some pace and bounce in it.
Rory Burns, KK Jennings, Joe Denly, JE Root, Jonny Bairstow, BA Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, M Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first. WInning the toss has traditionally been a big advantage on this surface even though the first morning might be a bit challenging.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The third test match between the Windies and England is going to be played at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St. Lucia. The weather forecast for the match is mixed. There is always some rain around in the islands and the weather can change quickly. Currently, some rain is being predicted for the third and fourth day of the test with a chance of some scattered showers on the fifth day as well.
The surface is expected to green and hard for this match. The Windies bowling coach talked of a surface that reminded him of the ones prepared in the ’70s and ’80s. That hopefully means we should see the ball fly, wickets tumble, and some exciting batting as well.
The loss of Jason Holder is a big one for the Windies but the momentum is clearly with the side. There is a sense of belief that is infectious and it finally seems like the Windies might have turned a corner. We would advise being a bit cautious, though. This is the same Windies side that lost to Bangladesh at home and the gamble of playing on a fast surface could backfire as well.
England is available to win at some excellent odds and we think it is worth taking a punt on them
Back England to win.
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