England have prepared for their crunch Test series against South Africa later in the summer with a comfortable 2-0 win in a 3-match series versus the West Indies.
Improved performances with the bat amongst the top order will be a sign of encouragement after a haphazard showing during the winter in the subcontinent. Captain Andrew Strauss made a welcome return to form getting back in the runs in the first test at Lord’s with a 122, as England made 398 in their first innings on the way to a 5-wicket victory, as second-innings scores of 79 and 63 from Alistair Cook and Ian Bell carried England towards their required target of 191 whilst Stuart Broad took an impressive 10 wickets for the hosts during the match.
The second Test at Trent Bridge saw the England bowlers begin in dominant fashion as the visitors were restricted to 136-6. However, a remarkable 204 7th wicket partnership between Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy, who both picked up centuries helped the Windies to a total of 370. However, England were impressive with the bat once again, as Strauss picked up his second century of the series with a well-worked 141 and Kevin Pieterson got in on the act with an innings of 80, as England took a 58-run lead with a score of 428. The bowlers were able produce once more in the second innings, with Lancashire’s Jimmy Anderson picking up 4 wickets, alongside Tim Bresnan with Samuels’ 76-not out the only form of resistance this time around as the West Indies were bowled out for 165. England comfortably took out the match, needing 108 to win as they got to 111-1 with Cook the only man to be dismissed as England secured the Wisden Trophy taking a 2-0 lead.
The 3rd Test at Edgbaston was eventually washed out by the rain but there was time for the Windies to produce a memorable record-breaking moment as Danesh Ramdin ( and Tino Best posted the highest ever 11th wicket partnership in West Indies history of 143, helping them to 426. Best’s cameo innings of 95 was the highest by a number 11 in Test history, as he produced some memorable shots which some of his teammates higher up the order would have been proud of, before he was eventually caught out as he tried to find the boundary to take him to a century. Ramdin was later fined 20% of his match fee by the International Cricket Council after celebrating his century by holding up a piece of paper with the message “Yeah Viv, Talk Nah” thought to be a reaction to criticism aimed towards him by West Indies cricketing legend Sir Viv Richards. England were only able to make it to 221-5 by the end of Day 5 as the Test was defeated by the conditions.
All in all a comfortable enough series win for England back on home soil which will be much welcome after the frustrating campaign over the winter which saw them fail to win either of the series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The confidence gained by the top-order batsmen, in particular Strauss and Cook, who under-performed earlier in the year, as they picked up some decent scores against the limited West Indian attack may prove to hold them in good stead as the number-one ranked Test side looks ahead to the 3-match showdown against the chasing second-ranked South Africa.
- In the meantime attention switches to the one-day scene as the Three Lions take on West Indies in a 3-game series as well as one Twenty-20 before a 5-match ODI series against Australia which begins later in the month.