• England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge

West Indies must dig deep again

The Preview by Andrew McGlashan
May 24, 2012

Match Facts

May 25-29, Trent Bridge
Start time 11.00 (1000GMT)

Tight call: Steven Finn is desperate to regain his Test place but may not squeeze out Tim Bresnan © PA Photos
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The Big Picture

England were forced to work hard for their victory at Lord's but ultimately had too much depth for West Indies. The visitors showed the resourcefulness they displayed against Australia - especially on the fourth day with the bat - but too many familiar failings emerged at crucial times to allow England to wrestle back control.

It may have been West Indies' best chance because now England have got a foothold in the series. With two of England's favourite venues to come it will be a tough task to keep the series alive. Trent Bridge offers help for swing bowling - even now the sun has emerged after a cold, damp start to the season- which will provide another examination of West Indies' top order, the area that remains their weakest link.

England, though, are on message that they cannot lose focus. Kemar Roach gave them a fright in the run chase while Shivnarine Chanderpaul was only dismissed after 425 deliveries at the crease. West Indies were not the pushovers of 2009 by a long way and the contest was all the better for it.

Inevitably, however, when West Indies are playing, it is off the field issues that continue to take the headlines. Chris Gayle is a constant source of questions but certainly will not be here for this Test at least. Then there are the slightly differing issues surrounding Ramnaresh Sarwan and Jerome Taylor. Meanwhile the captain Darren Sammy is again under pressure to justify his place in the side. Given all the distractions it is commendable that West Indies are being competitive.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

England WWLLL
West Indies LLDLD

Watch out for...

Kevin Pietersen had a quiet match at Lord's but that is not the same as being out of the news. He has been fined for his Twitter remarks about Nick Knight, and during the net session on Thursday was giving the ball a fearful smack. A frustrated Pietersen can be dangerous if he can channel his feelings into motivation. If he scores a hundred it is just a shame Knight is not on the commentary roster for this Test to interview him afterwards.

He is not confirmed in the team, but Shane Shillingford's absence was keenly felt at Lord's and he is pushing hard for a recall. One of the by-products of his omission was West Indies' awful over-rate which cost them financially and he is also a bowler who can provide control for Sammy. England have struggled against spin in recent times - albeit away from home - so it is surely worth a punt from West Indies.

Team news

As at Lord's, England's only decision revolves around the third quick bowler. Tim Bresnan now has 12 wins in 12 (and last year he hit 90, then took 5 for 48 against India at Trent Bridge) but had a limited impact at Lord's with one wicket and duck although, for long periods, did an important holding role with the ball. The question remains: Could Steven Finn do the same job and also provide an additional cutting edge? Finn is frustrated at being on the sidelines. He may have a bit more time there yet.

England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Anderson

West Indies will need to make one enforced change to their bowling attack after Shannon Gabriel was ruled out of the tour. Sadly, from an entertainment point of view, that is likely to mean a recall for Ravi Rampaul, who has now recovered from his neck problem, rather than Tino Best who has recently arrived from the Caribbean. They will also give serious consideration to playing Shillingford and he could replace Fidel Edwards after a disappointing display at Lord's.

West Indies (probable) 1 Adrian Barath, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Kirk Edwards, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Marlon Samuels, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Shane Shillingford

Pitch and conditions

Typically in the UK the first sign of warm weather has made front-page news and it is expected to last throughout the Test. It could offer the batsmen a chance to prosper although Trent Bridge is rarely flat even in the best of conditions.

Stats and trivia

  • West Indies have never lost a Test at Trent Bridge. However, they have not played there since 1995 when Mike Watkinson helped save the match for England

  • England have won their last three Tests at the ground and by huge margins: 319 runs against India, 354 runs against Pakistan, and an innings and nine runs against New Zealand. There has not been a draw since 2002 against India.

  • This will be the last Test for the old, traditional-style, scoreboard at Trent Bridge which is due to be replaced by another electronic version.

  • James Anderson is back on a happy hunting ground where he has taken 33 wickets at 17.45 in five Test, while last year Stuart Broad claimed a hat-trick against India.

Quotes

"It's all about keeping our feet on the ground and making sure we're willing to do the hard graft necessary to get on top of the side ahead."
Andrew Strauss will ensure England do not get carried away

"There is a good chance that Shillingford might play in this Test match. Ravi is fit for us again. He has been the guy taking wickets with the new ball, so probably we would go back to two hard fast bowlers and myself, and a spinner."
Unlike Strauss, Darren Sammy did not mind giving a strong hint about his selection

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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