PITCH AND WEATHER
It’s typical, isn’t it? May and June blazed with summer sunshine but come Wednesday, and the first ball of the English cricket season, rain showers are expected. The same on Thursday. It would be tempting to say you couldn’t make it up but you really could. The last three days should, at least, be fine and dry. Both sides will hope for a bit more pace in the Ageas Bowl surface than the slow and low pitch used for England’s warm-up match.
England’s card is about for this game with Zak Crawley expected to bat at number four as Joe Root attends the birth of his second child. Thee fast-bowling attack is that the only issue outstanding with Anderson, Broad, Archer, Woakes and Wood all presenting excellent cases for inclusion. In home conditions, Anderson and Broad remain significant forces and can be hard to seem past and Jofra Archer, who has three five-wicket hauls from seven Tests, could join them.
Predicted XI: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Zak Crawley, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
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After West Indies coach Phil Simmons gave Alzarri Joseph an enormous rap two days out from the sport , a four pronged pace attack, with off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, looks to be the way the tourists will go. the opposite option is to select Jermaine Blackwood, and his excellent record against England, at number six and pick only four bowlers but that seems less likely. Shamarh Brooks, who made 100 against Afghanistan in his last Test innings, is about to bat at number four.
Predicted XI: John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Shane Dowrich, Rahkeem Cornwall, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel
West Indies Squad:
John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Jason Holder(c), Shane Dowrich(w), Rahkeem Cornwall, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Chemar Holder, Nkrumah Bonner, Raymon Reifer, Jermaine Blackwood
Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Zak Crawley, Ben Stokes(c), Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler(w), Dominic Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood