At the Old Trafford, West Indies and England will once again battle it out for the illustrious Wisden trophy. The West Indies fought till death to win the first Test in Southampton. However, England roared back to square the three-match series in Manchester, spearheaded by Ben Stokes’ stellar show.
Ahead of the decider, West Indies have grave concerns about their batting line-up. Head coach Phil Simmons put the batters on notice after their batting collapses in both the innings. The pair of Shai Hope and John Campbell specifically remain under the scanner for not producing any notable knocks across four innings.
We take a look at West Indies’ predicted XI ahead of the third Test:
Kraigg Brathwaite is the third-highest run-getter for the West Indies this series with two fifties. While Brathwaite has remained defiant with his foot movement in the crease, he has not been able to convert them into three figures. He will keep his place, but the tourists need something extraordinary from Brathwaite in the finale.
With John Campbell scoring only 52 runs in four innings so far, he is one of the two batsmen under the scanner after the loss in the second Test. In his place, Shayne Moseley could come along with a credible first-class record, who is in the reserve players list.
The 26-year old has 28 first-class matches under his belt with three centuries and ten fifties at 31.48. Moseley also scored 40 and 83 in the first intra-squad game and could be in line for a Test debut.
Joshua da Silva:
Joshua da Silva could be the man to replace Shai Hope for the third Test. Shai Hope has looked listless in the middle, unable to find the requisite rhythm to settle down. Hope has piled a truckload of runs in ODI cricket for the West Indies; however, has looked horribly out of form in Tests. So far, the 26-year old has managed only 57 runs in four innings with a high score of 25.
In contrast, Joshua da Silva has 855 runs in 16 first-class fixtures at 32.88. Notably, the keeper-batsman also slammed two unbeaten knocks of 133 and 56 in the second intra-squad warm-up game.
Hence, the visitors could have two debutants and two reserve players for the decider.
Roston Chase should retain his place, considering he has crafted series-defining knocks across two Tests. However, being the most experienced batsman in the middle-order, Chase needs to assume the responsibility of playing a long inning. So far, he has 141 runs in two games with a solitary fifty. Chase is also a reliable spinner for the West Indies, who picked five wickets in the first innings in Manchester.
Shamarh Brooks scored successive fifties in two innings in Manchester, albeit in a losing cause. Shamarh Brooks was part of two vital partnerships with Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood in the first and second innings. It was after their stands that the collapse began for the West Indies.
Brooks was undoubtedly their best batsmen across two innings. However, he falls into the category from whom the expectation is to convert his half-centuries into centuries.
Jermaine Blackwood was instrumental in securing the Test victory in Southampton through some encouraging strokeplay. While Stuart Broad cleaned him up in the first innings for a duck, he managed to score 55 in the second. After the century stands with Brooks, the right-handed batsman fell to an unplayable bouncer from Ben Stokes. The focus will be on Blackwood as well to play a marathon knock.
Shane Dowrich (wk):
Shane Dowrich could not repeat the dogged presence of Southampton in Manchester, perhaps when his team needed the most. Dowrich made 61 in the first innings of the first Test and went on to grab a pair at the Old Trafford, being stuck in the crease with the ball rapping on his pads. If not runs, the West Indies need him to be around with one of the recognized batsmen.
Jason Holder (c):
Ahead of the third Test, West Indian captain Jason Holder lost his number one all-rounder’s spot to England vice-captain Ben Stokes. Holder could produce nothing magical with the ball in Manchester as he did in Southampton. He could not prevent the loss with the bat as well. Like the 28-year old inspired his side in Southampton, they need once more to take home the Wisden Trophy.
Alzarri Joseph went momentarily due to his elbow injury, but for his 25 overs, he could get only one wicket. While there is no update regarding his injury or talks about replacing, they could, considering the options available with them. However, the visitors are most likely to opt for him.
Shannon Gabriel was the man of the match in Southampton for taking nine wickets, including a five-wicket haul in the second innings.
However, he went wicketless in Manchester for 33 overs. Gabriel also suffered a hamstring injury that dented his rhythm. Hence, the West Indies need him to put his injuries aside for one more game to produce the magic of the Ageas Bowl.
Kemar Roach’s four wickets came in Manchester itself after having no rewards for toiling and bowling with precision in Southampton. Kemar Roach got his first wicket of the series in the form of Ben Stokes, who he dismissed for 176 in the first innings.
Roach went on to remove Chris Woakes for a duck while also sending back Jos Buttler and Zak Crawley in the second. The right-arm speedster is only three wickets away from becoming the second West Indian bowler after Curtly Ambrose to reach 200 scalps.