West Indies spiced up the 3-match Test series by handing a 4-wicket defeat to England in the first game at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
England’s batting collapse in both innings cost them big time as West Indies out batted the hosts despite some of the underperforming specialist batsmen. However, England will hope to attain stability in the batting with the return of their skipper Joe Root. The remaining two matches will be played at the Old Trafford in Manchester out of which West Indies need to win only one for their first Test series win in England in 32 years.
Due to the rain in Manchester, Root & Co. were unable to train outside and practised in the indoor nets at Old Trafford ahead of the #raisethebat second Test starting on Thursday (July 16).
The selectors have made three changes in the Three Lions squad for the upcoming game. Lancashire seamer James Anderson and Durham quick Mark Wood both have been rested.
Also, Surrey left-arm seamer Sam Curran was added to the 13-man squad alongside Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson, who got his first call-up to the senior team. Kent batsman Joe Denly will warm the bench as captain Root returns to his favourite No. 3 position.
Root said the decision to drop Denly was motivated partly by Zak Crawley’s performance in the first Test. 34-year-old Zak scored an impressive 76 in England’s second innings at The Ageas Bowl.
“It’s never an easy decision, having to leave someone out. He [Denly] has done a brilliant job over a period of time. He’s helped show our identity as a side and showed how we want to play moving forward, batting a long period of time and laying a platform,” said Root as quoted by Cricbuzz.
“Watching Zak’s progression, his game continually looks to get stronger. Joe is someone that’s done a fantastic job for us, and I think he’ll be just as frustrated as anyone that he’s not managed to quite convert those opportunities.
“But certainly, the door’s not closed. He’s been a big part of our squad for some time now. He gets if he gets an opportunity to come back again, then I’m sure he’ll be desperate to take it,” added the England skipper.
England’s second Test Squad:
Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes