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  • West Indies v England, 3rd ODI

Another spin battle to decide series

Preview by Andrew McGlashan
March 4, 2014
MATCH FACTS
March 5, Antigua
Start time 9.30am (13.30GMT)

Jos Buttler catches one in the left webbing as he prepares for the deciding ODI © Getty Images
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THE BIG PICTURE

The first two one-day internationals have been a combination of some very good cricket and some very ordinary cricket - both teams have provided both aspects. In the second match, England played just enough of the better stuff than West Indies, but it was a close-run contest as they found themselves in a heap of trouble chasing a small total.

Stuart Broad's reaction on hitting the winning runs showed how much it meant to him to register a victory. The team desperately needed a positive result after twice letting strong positions fritter away in the opening match. Going 2-0 down, in the face of chasing just 160, would have left the danger of painful memories from Australia being revived.

The result of this series will not mean a huge amount in terms of the challenges ahead but a number of players are taking their chance to impress for England, notably Michael Lumb, Moeen Ali and Stephen Parry who claimed three wickets on his debut. For West Indies, Lendl Simmons has twice held the innings together while Sunil Narine has been the handful expected of him.

However, the hosts need much more from their top order - which is missing Chris Gayle's power - and need to find a way of either putting more pressure on England's spinners or, at least, not losing early wickets which sets the innings back and leaves the likes of Simmons needing to stage a recovery.

FORM GUIDE
(completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies LWWWL
England WLLWL

WATCH OUT FOR...

Nikita Miller can fly under the radar when all the attention is on the wiles of Sunil Narine, but he has had a significant impact for West Indies in recent ODIs. His last three matches - against New Zealand, Ireland and England - have brought him eight wickets and it was his dismissal of Michael Lumb which sparked England's collapse the other day. He and Narine make an ideal pair; if a team aims to largely survive against Narine, especially on turning pitches, Miller can take advantage of the pressure created.

Jos Buttler has not been able to show his finishing skills so far in his brief series. He fell trying to clear in the in-field as the asking rate climbed in the first match and was surprised by a short ball on a slow pitch in the second. Neither dismissal need raise major alarms, but England put a lot of onus on Buttler to be able to close out an innings. Behind the stumps, the amount of spin bowling has tested his glovework which, at times, remains fallible as shown by the controversial stumping of Dwayne Bravo.

TEAM NEWS

West Indies' top four have struggled and Marlon Samuels appears to have overcome his injury so would be a logical swap for one of them, perhaps the rather leaden-footed Kirk Edwards. Samuels would also provide another bowling option, although he is not allowed to use his quicker ball after ICC testing ruled it illegal last year.

West Indies 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Kieron Powell, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Lendl Simmons, 6 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Sunil Narine, 9 Ravi Rampaul, 10 Nikita Miller

Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales trained on Tuesday, but with T20s around the corner neither may be risked even though it is a deciding one-dayer. That would mean a reprieve for the struggling Luke Wright.

England 1 Michael Lumb, 2 Moeen Ali, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Joe Root, 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Ravi Bopara, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad (capt), 10 James Tredwell, 11 Stephen Parry

PITCH AND CONDITIONS

For the third game in a row the same pitch will used: it was tired during the second match, it could well be comatose this time. Expect more spin, albeit slow, and even less bounce - 150 may not be far off defendable again.

STATS AND TRIVIA

  • England have bowled 314 deliveries of spin in two matches. Their most in a series of three matches is 384 during the 1977-78 series against Pakistan which was played over 35 eight-ball overs

  • Luke Wright has gone seven innings across both limited-overs formats without reaching double figures

  • For both teams a series win here will be their first in one-day cricket since February last year: West Indies beat Zimbabwe and England beat New Zealand

QUOTES

"If I was asked to go up the order, I'd snap off the hand of whoever makes the decision."
Ravi Bopara on wanting to bat higher

"It caught us by surprise ... and we were not able to counteract it, or come up with a gameplan against it."
Dwayne Bravo on being out-foxed by England's spin tactics

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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