Sun | Dec 4, 2022

War of attrition goes to the wire – West Indies ready

Published:Thursday | March 24, 2022 | 12:10 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite plays a forward defensive shot during day four of the second Test match against England at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on March 19.
West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite plays a forward defensive shot during day four of the second Test match against England at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on March 19.
England captain Joe Root celebrates scoring a century against West Indies on day one of their second Test match at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on March 16.
England captain Joe Root celebrates scoring a century against West Indies on day one of their second Test match at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on March 16.
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AFTER 10 DAYS of attritional cricket across two venues, the West Indies and England are yet to separate themselves in a Test match, and the sides will try to do so once again when they meet in the third Test in Grenada, starting today at 9 a.m. Jamaica time.

One thing that has been constant in this series is the proliferation of runs, with both sides having their fair share of centurions, who have capitalised on placid surfaces, both in Antigua and Barbados.

By all indication, the pitch in St George’s is expected to be a bit more pace-friendly, and with the more experienced fast-bowling attack, the West Indies will literally, and figuratively, be at home and looking to press for victory and steal the three-match series, one-nil.

For West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who has been the rock with a series-leading 304 runs in four innings, this winner-takes-all encounter is crucial as the West Indies look to win their first Test match since February 2021.

Also of importance, the West Indies will want to keep the English side winless in the Caribbean since 2004.

IMPORTANT GAME

“This is a very important game because it is the series decider. We want to come out on top and we have some plans, but we must stick to the discipline and look to carry out those plans and look to finish strong, and keep that record intact,” said Brathwaite

With pressure mounting on the likes of opener John Campbell and Shamarh Brooks to come good with the bat, head coach Phil Simmons may be tempted to give Kyle Mayers a look in the batting department. He may also be tempted to rest young seamer Jayden Seales and hand a debut to compatriot Anderson Phillip.

However, Simmons is also keen on keeping faith in the 11 that have fought hard for two draws so far in the series.

“Everything comes into play, and you can’t say you will give one guy three matches and the other guy two matches, it can’t work like that. We have been playing well, and so you look at these things before you make a change and replace players,” said Simmons.

In the meantime, England captain Joe Root will be hoping that his team can continue their win streak in Grenada. The last time they played the host in 2015, England won by nine wickets on the back of Root’s unbeaten century.

“I hope we can take another step forward as a team and get across the line, because there’s been a lot of good stuff,” Root said.

“We’ve played the majority of the cricket up until now, and it would be a great way to end the tour.”

Fast bowler Craig Overton could replace Matt Fisher as the only change in the England team.

The West Indies have not won a Test match in Grenada in three attempts, after drawing with New Zealand in 2002 and losing to Bangladesh in 2009.