England have wrapped up the series with 2 consecutive wins in the 3 test matches against a weak West Indies eleven. Frankly, they don’t need to show their potential in this last match. They don’t need to get a white wash. It might even be a draw, for all that matters. But then again, some changes in the order and a few replacements could see this turn into a pretty exciting game..
After a 10 wicket win on the fourth day itself, England are on a high, and for the final test against the Windies at Edgbaston in the beautiful Birmingham, they will be looking for nothing less than a win, to claim the series 3-0.
Teamwise, England are the clear frontrunners with incredible openers, a very strong middle order and some of the best bowlers in the world today. Openers Andrew Strauss (captain) and Alastair Cook recently crossed the 500 run window together and play like they’ve known each other their entire lives. The duo has given their side dream starts many a time. Cook though, will be looking to have a good match after failing to do so in the first two tests of the series, while Strauss has already made two centuries and is in an awesome form.
Coming down to the middle order, they have the likes of Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen. These two blend together like fire and sulfur, forming one explosive stand. They are like two different sides of the same coin. Bell will stand and provide some brilliant stability while Pietersen’s aggressive style helps him knock the ball around stunningly. Rookie Jonny Bairstow has not made much of the opportunities presented to him and will be looking to make a name for himself.
Onto the bowlers. One of the main reasons England has been landing so many victories is because of the spinners and leaders of the bowling attack, Stuart Broad and James Anderson. Now this is where it gets tricky. England have decided to rest Anderson for the last test, even though he showed no signs of an injury. Talks about resting Broad are also underway, although Broad wants to play the final test and continue his intense form. If both these bowlers are rested, Steve Finn and Graham Onions will take their place. They don’t have as much experience as the rested two and might have a few hiccups along the way but they have the ability to get the job done. ‘Lucky Charm’ Tim Bresnan can be the X-factor with his swings and can outsmart any.
After seeing the line-up of England, one would be amazed at the fact that the West Indies have put that many runs on the scoreboard. An absolutely chaotic batting top order is what would describe them the best right now. Adrian Barath, Keiran Powell, Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo have managed to get a measly 203 runs in 8 innings between them. The English have just glided through these guys. Poor technique and a horrible shot selection is what they need to work on. If this isn’t done, the little chance that the men from Calypso have to take home some pride, will be lost.
Marlon Samuels has time and again proved to be a savior and has helped his team suffer less embarrassing losses. His never-exhausted look when he bats is something else. That attack he launched on Graeme Swann last time was out of this world. Shivnarine Chanderpaul can bat and bat for hours together, not once losing his concentration. He recently crossed the 10,000 run mark. Captain Sammy and Samuels crossed the 200+ partnership together in the previous match. So the bottom order of batsmen certainly looks like it can cause some damage.
The bowling side has done well but the English seem to have an answer for everything. Ravi Rampaul’s form has been patchy and star bowler Kemar Roach has been ruled out of the last test after an injury. This means that Sunil Narine gets to test and maybe show his skills off at Edgbaston. In his first test match, Narine is looking to make a sensational debut and if his form is the same as it was during the IPL, we are in for a serious competition. He might even get the Windies that win.
The Edgbaston pitch has helped swingers and seamers initially and then it just paves way for the batsmen. The last match played here between England and India saw the English make a whopping 710 for 7. Weather predictions are a bit disappointing after reports show a thunderstorm heading their way. It could affect the match and also end it.
All in all, this looks to be an interesting match up with new bowlers and it starts on June the 7th. Can the West Indies get an unlikely win? Or will the English walk through them like last time? We’ll just have to wait and watch.