Two tests down and out of the series, England will hope to salvage some pride when they meet West Indies for the third test at St Lucia starting Sunday.
A month ago, many, including the entirety of cricket fraternity, would have laughed off a prediction of West Indies walking into the final test of the series with the series already pocketed. It has been worse than a nightmare for England. Their much hyped batting has fallen like a pack of cards, not just once, but for four times in two tests now. Joe Root and his men are under serious pressure of avoiding a series whitewash. The smiles and joys of their recent success have all withered away. They now look like a side that can’t handle a good bowling attack. A win is the only thing that can leave them with a little space for revival from here, and they’ll likely do everything to make sure they get it.
West Indies are on a roll, persistent with the bat and clinical with the ball, Windies have clicked almost every check-box right. They will be desperate to hand their visitors their first test series whitewash since 1986. But the only concern for them is that they’ll have to do it without their skipper Jason Holder. Even without him though, West Indies look much more solid than their visitors and if they manage to pull this one off, it will be quite a statement in the cricketing world indicating a return of cricket’s most elite member.
Injuries: No injuries to trouble the home side but their captain stands suspended due to slow over rate and will miss the third test.
Doubt: Oshane Thomas has been in the waiting for quite some time now and West Indies might go in for him considering they do have the series already. But who goes out to make way for him is also a major concern.
Questionable: The vacant spot created by Jason Holder’s absence is expected to be filled in by Keemo Paul, a 20-year-old like for like replacement for Holder at least on paper.
Expected Changes: Keemo Paul is expected to come in for Jason Holder with Kraigg Brathwaite set to lead the side.
Injuries: No injury concerns but England have left out Ben Foakes and have called back Keaton Jennings.
Doubt: Sam Curran stands as the most likely man to sit out from the 12-man squad considering Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes, and Moeen Ali’s comparatively better performances.
Questionable: Mark Wood’s inclusion may stand justified at this point after England’s performances but England needed to strengthen their batting resources more than their bowling pool.
Expected Changes: Two changes, Keaton Jennings in for Ben Foakes and Mark Wood in for Sam Curran.
Kraigg Brathwaite (C), Shane Dowrich (WK), John Campbell, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel
Joe Root (C), Jonny Bairstow (WK), Rory Burns, Keaton Jennings, Joe Denly, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson