Can the Windies clinch the series?

Can The West Indies Secure Series Win Over England?

England were hammered in the opening Test of their series against the West Indies, losing by a mammoth 381 runs in Barbados.

Joe Root’s men were outplayed from start-to-finish in the contest as the Windies made a statement in the opening match of the series.

After posting a competitive score of 289 in their first innings, the home side skittled the Three Lions for 77. Kemar Roach was the architect of the tourists’ downfall, notching outstanding figures of 5-17 in his 11 overs. It was a spell reminiscent from the glory days of West Indian fast bowling.

England tried to break back into the game and had the Windies five down for 61 in their second innings. However, Jason Holder came to the crease and dispelled any notion of a comeback. He blasted the Three Lions to all parts of the ground, notching his maiden Test double-century.

Shane Dowrich also played his part with a fine hundred – his third in Test cricket. After declaring on 415/8, the Windies set England a daunting target of 628 that the visitors were never going to be able to reach even on a perfect batting track.

Rory Burns offered resistance with a score of 84, but once he fell, England fell apart. It was not the pace bowling that defeated the Three Lions on this occasion. The occasional off-spin of Roston Chase tore through the line-up, with the all-rounder claiming figures of 8-60.

It’s not the first time England have been humiliated on the road in recent years. They have responded in the past, but the Windies will hard nut to crack in Antigua as they look to secure the series.

Can the Windies clinch the series?

West Indies’ Top Batsman

The Windies got contributions right down the order in their first innings. Kraigg Brathwaite scored an impressive half-century to get his team off to a solid start, although he was aided by a fine performance from John Campbell on debut to blunt England’s new-ball attack. However, it was another young player that stole the headlines in the early stages of the game.

Shimron Hetmyer put England under pressure with a brilliant counterattack just when it appeared the Three Lions were beginning to get a foothold. The 22-year-old was given a life when Jos Buttler dropped him on three. He made the England man regret his mistake, scoring at a brisk rate off the bowling of Sam Curran and Moeen Ali.

Hetmyer had an affinity for the boundary, scoring nine four and two sixes in his innings. His intensity typified the effort of the Windies in the opener to take the game to the tourists. Hetmyer was not afraid to lose his wicket playing with aggression. The 22-year-old was the last wicket in the first innings to fall, 19 runs short of his maiden century. It would not be a surprise to see Hetmyer take the charge against England again in the first innings at odds of +550   with Bet365.

England’s Top Batsman

Outside of Burns’ performance in the second innings, England’s display with the bat in Barbados was embarrassing. It has been a frequent occurrence on the road in Test match cricket, which has bemused coach Trevor Bayliss. England’s score of 77 echoed memories of their collapse against New Zealand last year when they were reduced to 27-9 in Auckland. It was not quite as bad on this occasion, although it’s still enough to put members of the team under pressure.

Keaton Jennings failed once again at the top of the innings, which has resulted in the Lancashire man being dropped from the team. Joe Denly will replace him alongside Rory Burns. The new addition puts further pressure on Joe Root to score the majority of England’s runs. Root endured a tough time in the opener as he made a combined 26 runs. It’s unusual for the England skipper to fail twice in back-to-back Test matches. Back the 28-year-old to find his form in Antigua at odds of +300   with Betway.

West Indies’ Top Bowler

Roach took the headlines in the first innings with a magnificent spell of bowling. England were not ready for his pace and accuracy, pummelling the line-up with dangerous deliveries. The 30-year-old did not have a good record against the Three Lions before the match, but proved a point with his hostile spell which set the tone for the contest and the Windies will hope for the rest of the series.

Roach has an imperious record at North Sound, including a spell of 4-94 against England in 2015. However, he put on a quality display on his last outing at the venue, tearing through the Bangladesh order to bowl them out for 43.

Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph and Holder worked well as a unit in the first innings. Expect them to build pressure on the England batsmen to restrict their runs. Roach has the discipline and the affinity for the ground to have another good spell in the first innings. Back him to lead the wicket column at odds of +300   with Bet365.

England’s Top Bowler

James Anderson and Ben Stokes were on point for England, while Ali had his moments in the second innings. However, the tourists were underwhelming outside of the trio. The decision to select a second spinner ahead of Stuart Broad proved to be a poor one from Root and Bayliss. Adil Rashid failed to make an impact and may lose his place for the second match of the series. Broad should be recalled to the side and may replace Curran or Rashid in the line-up.

He will be hungry to prove that the team were wrong to leave him out of the side. The pitch in Barbados would have suited his style of bowling, and if the West Indies are to get their wish, Antigua should be the same. However, it could also play into the hands of Broad and the England pacemen. Broad averages 28 against the Windies, although he did not have the best of times in Antigua on his last visit in 2015. Back him to respond to being left out of the team to lead the wicket column at odds of +333   with Bet365.

Winner

England have been hammered in the past and have responded to those defeats. They’ve not always won the next game, with their series’ loss against New Zealand last year being a perfect example. There will be pressure on Root and his players, but they do have the quality and will be desperate to prove a point.

The West Indies played excellent cricket in the opener, but the question will be whether they can remain at that high standard in Antigua. England are not as bad as their performance suggested and they should be able to level the series with a win at odds of -175   with 888Sport.

Tips Summary

England To Beat West Indies 2nd Test
Thursday 31st January 2019 – Monday 4th February 2019
Odds: -175

Shimron Hetmyer To Be West Indies’ Top Batsman
Thursday 31st January 2019 – Monday 4th February 2019
Odds: +550

Kemar Roach To Be West Indies’ Top Bowler
Thursday 31st January 2019 – Monday 4th February 2019
Odds: +300

Joe Root To Be England’s Top Batsman
Thursday 31st January 2019 – Monday 4th February 2019
Odds: +300

Stuart Broad To Be England’s Top Bowler
Thursday 31st January 2019 – Monday 4th February 2019
Odds: +333