By News Team
22nd March 2022
The second Test between West Indies and England finished just as the first did, and now we move to Grenada for this series decider.
But bar a Headingley 1981 or 2019 special, this series won’t be living long in the memory of any cricket fan, regardless of the result.
This was an important series for England, having made some bold calls in their selection, but all it will do is leave fans deflated. We preview the third Test here.
How will the Grenada pitch fare?
This series, having had 10 days of play in Antigua and Barbados, now rests in the hand of the Grenada groundsmen. In both of the aforementioned Tests there has been no contest between bat and ball. Cricket fans have been subjected to 10 days of batting practice, and while very much needed for some England players, it will leave a sour taste in the mouths of the tourists’ fans. The reason being that many, and rightfully so, wanted to see England’s decision to drop Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad vindicated. If the England management was going to treat two of England’s finest ever players in such a way, they wanted it to be for good reason; they wanted to see this new look team play in a way they hadn’t done before. But they haven’t so far.
In England’s defence, a high portion of the blame for such a sedentary series has to be placed on the pitches at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and the Kensington Oval. Both pitches, like the pitches seen in Pakistan and Australia’s ongoing series, have been well below Test standard and have at times looked more like the M25 than the road to hell itself.
These pitches have not been conducive to exciting Test cricket and even Geoffrey Boycott must have been bored watching Kraigg Brathwaite build his 489-ball innings. However, there was a positive to come from such a tiresome knock and that is that it birthed what might be the best statistic in cricket ever seen – Jack Leach bowled more dot balls at Braithwaite in that innings than England’s whole attack managed against Australia in all five Tests of the Ashes.
Another draw likely?
It was great to see Ben Stokes back in the runs and surpassing 5,000 Test runs, but for a batter of his ability he’ll know they won’t come much easier than that. And if we’re taking a positive tone then it would be great to see some of England’s attack show some promise in Grenada if they are given the tools to do so by the groundsmen.
Having said all of the above, England are firm favourites to take the series decider at 6/5 while the hosts look beat, which they probably are, at 4/1. However, the draw at 6/4 really can’t be ignored if we’ve learnt anything from this tour.
The top first innings run scorer market looks tricky to find value with so many batters firing well on flat pitches, but if Grenada does look to have some life in the deck then there could be some value in an outsider like Chris Woakes at 33/1. He is technically as sound as some of the best and he is more than capable of a big score on his day. He could quite easily pull the side back up if England’s front men are shocked with a live pitch. Let’s hope so, anyway.