England vs West Indies 2019 test series preview:

Ben Foakes’ 100 in the 1st test against Sri Lanka in Galle

After England’s fantastic whitewash over in Sri Lanka, they head over to the Caribbean to face a weak West indies squad, who haven’t beaten England in a test series for 10 years. Joe Root’s men have had time to relax, whilst some have gone and done stints in the big bash, with Root himself playing for the Sydney Thunder, alongside Jos Buttler. Buttler was the top scorer in the tournament, scoring 273 runs in 7 innings, with an average of 39 and a top score of 89; however, the England test captain only managed 99 runs in 7 innings, with and average of 14 and a top score of 26. Root was hoping on improving his 20/20 form, with hoping to be a secure spot on the way to the world cup next year. Other England stars who featured in the Big Bash included Joe Denly, who has a top score of 76 for the Sydney Sixers. He plays along side Tom Curran, who has only played 2 tests for England in the ashes. The likes of Liam Plunkett, David Willey, Chris Jordon, James Vince and Jofra Archer. Archer, who is scheduled to be available for England in the next couple of months, has not been selected for the ODI series, but Ed Smith, hopes that Archer will be able top break through into the squad.”If he becomes available, as it looks like he will do, in the reasonably near future, we think potentially in the early spring, then at that point we will start to consider the best squad with Jofra Archer available. Until that moment I wouldn’t speculate about that at all.”

The Windies come into the test series, having lost series to Bangladesh and India convincingly. The Squad for the 1st test is weak, with two uncapped players of John Campbell, 26, and Shamarh Brooks, 30. Darren Bravo has been recalled into the squad, and hasn’t played a test for over 2 years. However, he has a test average of 40.00 and 3,400 runs to his name. A key player for the Windies will be Shai Hope, who won the test against England at Headingly in 2017, with back to back 100s in both innings. Something the Windies can bring to the game which England don’t have much of is the option of fast bowlers. The likes of Alzarri Joseph and Shannon Gabriel should not let England get comfortable. England may say they have Olly Stone, but he is yet to make a test appearance and is still raw. 

Another problem England will face before the first test, is who will make the middle order. Trevor Bayliss has confirmed Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings will be opening for the first test, with someone such as Joe Denly a back up option. Joe Root will take the number 4 position, so that leaves England with some options. England have tested 3 people on their most recent tour to Sri Lanka, with Moeen, Stokes and Jonny Bairstow all having a go. With Bairstow’s remarkable 100 in the third test, he will be the obvious choice, but England could also look at someone like Joe Denly, who could also bowl some leg spin if England go with only one main spinner. England will need to find a way to fit in all the players who have deserved their spot, but a team that fits the condition of the game. The number 5 role will most likely be taken by Stokes, with Buttler taking the number 6. Ben Foakes, who had a fantastic debut tour out in Sri Lanka, with already a 100 and a 50 to his name, should take the gloves at 7. That leaves 4 positions, with 7 names, who all have succeeded for England. Broad and Anderson will most likely be taking the number 10 and 11 spots, even though Broad missed out on the first 2 tests in Sri Lanka, however, these pitches should match their bowling capabilities. That leaves 8 and 9. England have the options of Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Jack Leach, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. All three of the spinners had a big impact in their tour to Sri Lanka. Leach and Moeen are the most likely spin candidates, as they shared the most amount of wickets in Sri Lanka, with 18 apiece. Moeen may have the bigger advantage, as he has the ability to help the lower order with runs. Curran has had an excellent start to his career for England, with scoring over 400 runs, having 3 50s to his name and picking up 14 wickets in 7 innings. However, Woakes has had more time in the test team, and scored his maiden 100 in the summer. Curran may have the nod over Woakes, as Woakes hasn’t played a test match since the summer. Therefore, my England team for the first test will look like:

  1. Rory Burns
  2. Keaton Jennings
  3. Jonny Bairstow
  4. Joe Root (c)
  5. Ben Stokes
  6. Jos Buttler 
  7. Ben Foakes (wk)
  8. Moeen Ali 
  9. Sam Curran 
  10. Stuart Broad/ Chris Woakes
  11. James Anderson
Sam Curran will be leading the race to get a spot for the 1st test.