West Indies First test win in England is pure triumph of will over their skillset. Their discipline in terms of run-rate(R/o) and strike rate(B/W) was excellent. One could argue that first two days of this test was very helpful for bowlers, but West Indies attack is not known for bowling fuller length, and this made England batsmen uneasy to play forward or back.
Interestingly West Indies overall bowling strike rate before this test has been > 60 since 2011- but this Test it was @53.55
A discipline bowling will helps reduce the run-rate, but its pressure created after fall of each wicket helps your strike rate, and on first two days West Indies didn’t allow England to score freely or put decent partnership. The pitch was helpful for bowlers throughout 5 days, and any lead of 100 or more is match winning factor.
West Indies batting was slow but assured themselves of not losing wickets quickly. They put small substantial partnerships to post decent total and take formidable lead of 118. Trend wise their frequency of 400+ has decreased over the years(since 2018 only 3 scores of 400 plus in 31 inns), but there is progress in longer innings, ie 100 plus overs. In last 31 inns, 9 times their innings went past 100 plus overs!.
Over the years against all attack and surface West Indies test batsmen are trying to bat as long as possible!.
England on the other hand too have been struggling in scoring big total consistently. Since 2018 only four times they manage to past 400 plus scores in 54 inns, but like West Indies they have been consistent in batting for longer period of time. Since 2018, 17 times they batted for 100 plus overs in 54 inns.
Perhaps one of the reason there was not a single century scored in this test match!.
When batting first in England, it is difficult to score a century in a test match. All teams including host England find it difficult to score a century on day one and two. Historically the frequency is higher in England than other countries. (see table below)
Ben Stokes was the last English batsman to score a century while batting first/1st innings in England. In 2017 at Leeds. He scored exactly a 100 against West Indies. Looking at this stats, one can imagine how difficult it would be for openers to score a century. Sir Alastair Cook was the last English opener to do so in 2017 and Chris Rogers was the last overseas players who scored a century in 2015 while batting first/1st innings.
Here is stats table of list of centuries scored in each country by host teams and how many were scored while batting first in a test match since Jan 2015. Interestingly when batting first in New Zealand scoring a century is rarity, and in Australia it is very regular!.
England once again made changes at the top. They selected new opening pair(Dom Sibley and Rory Burns) at home. This time Sibley debuting at home, was dismissed in the very second over.. He was slow to react was bowled trying to leave a length ball. England continues to lose their first wicket cheaply. – http://allthatcricket.com/18374-2/-
Rose Bowl condition and saliva factor.
The weather, the pitch the ball condition all in favour of bowlers. Interestingly saliva ban didn’t have much effect on bowler’s effectiveness. They all (including spinners) looked capable of picking wickets throughout the test match. Interestingly bowlers were able to reverse swing the ball inspite of saliva ban!.
For England though, the omission of Stuart Broad was questionable, as they opted for speed over seam/swing. Although one feels Broad might not be fully fit to play two successive test matches. In last year’s Ashes he was more of a right-arm fast medium, than right-arm medium fast suggesting the selection was based on fitness rather than lack of speed!.
Willingness to bat long was the key factor both teams.
England could not survive the consistent accurate swing/seam bowling from West Indies. Most times they judged the wrong length to be dismissed. West Indies led by Shannon Gabriel bowled their heart out, and apart from day one (17 overs) they made England play the ball regularly.
On the other hand, West Indies showed more discipline in their batting, putting on substantial small partnerships. They were willing to bat for as long as possible. They batted out for 102 overs taking vital lead of 114.
England showed more determination in 2nd inns and manage to bat for 112 overs in 2nd innings. The condition for batting was much better on day 3 and 4 as England ended up scoring 313 giving West Indies target of 200 to win on day 5.
One felt the match was in balance at end of three innings. Day 5 chasing is never easy on any pitch, and West Indies didn’t find it easy to chase down 200. They lost three early wickets, and John Campbell injured his toe, all to Jofra Archer!
Here was turning point for England, they could have tightened the noose around West Indies, but instead allowed the game to drift away by bowling defensively. This allowed batsmen Blackwood and Chase to settle in without any pressure, and manage to take them past 100 score.
Interestingly West Indies gave few chances between 25th over onwards till they realised they could now win the test match. England on the other hand couldn’t capitalise the opportunities given to them on last day.
This was the first since 1987 that two genuine all-rounder led their teams against each other. Ben Stokes was leading England for the very first time, Jason Holder in his 33rd as their captain.
A rare sight of two all-rounders leading their side. It was Imran Khan who led Pakistan against Kapil Dev’s India at Ahmedabad in 1987. A true all-rounder is a genuine match-winner with bat and ball, and if he happens to be their captain, then his skill as a leader is seen on and off the field. Jason Holder led his side with great care and discipline. West Indies deserve to win this test match, and it would be interesting to see if they can win this series after this high performance!.
Here are gfx of both teams with their batting partnerships