The only other country in world cricket who seem to be better than England when it comes to shooting themselves in the foot are at it again. After a disasterous start to the tour losing by 10 wickets at Lords last week, West Indies are now embroiled in controversy with Chris Gayle’s remarks about the captaincy and the future of Test cricket. While I’m sure the remarks have been taken out of context they are still not helpful in the build up to a Test match and could have been better timed.
England may well have scored a convincing win at Lords but their batting still wasn’t firing. Taking advantage of West Indies atrocious fielding Ravi Bopara cashed in with a century, but apart from some lower order hitting – for the rest it was far from successful.
England look set to name an unchanged side from the 1st Test, adding Ian Bell and Ryan Sidebottom to the squad gives the selectors a chance to rethink their plans if they feel like playing an extra batsman or an extra swing bowler if the conditions look right, but it is unlikely that they will.
West Indies on the other hand don’t have too many options, their main batting cover Dale Richards has gone home injured leaving them to rely on the usual top order, also giving Devon Smith another chance to convert a good looking 30 into a big score. In the bowling department they will be looking for an improvement from Jerome Taylor, since his heroic performance at Sabina Park he hasn’t really produced much with the ball but conditions at Durham might just suit his style.
Evens on England looks a half decent bet on recent form, the only nagging doubt is any problems with the weather but it’s hard to see this Test going anywhere near the distance with the shape the Windies seem to be in.
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