West Indies v England: Three talking points as Broad’s men win
West Indies v England: Three talking points as the tourists win by three wickets in Antigua on Sunday
Faith in spin
For the second game running, Joe Root opened the bowling and the line-up included a total of four spin options, with Moeen Ali, James Tredwell and Stephen Parry joining the youngster. The quartet were all given their chance to make an impact and incredibly 18 of the first 20 bowled were spin as they seek a long-term successor for Graeme Swann. At the end of the spells, it was obvious that they had put the squeeze on their opponents, with combined figures of 8 for 97 from 27.2 overs. Especially impressive was Parry with 3-32 as he picked up the best figures on ODI debut since Michael Yardy made his bow against Pakistan in September 2006. This tactical decision is the earliest indication that this approach will form part of England’s cross-format plans for the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh, which begins in two weeks. Dwayne Bravo also showed the same belief in his spin options as Sunil Narine and Nikita Miller caused problems and claimed three wickets. Broad also used this game as an opportunity to assess all his bowling options with a total of eight bowlers being used.
Confidence is key
Throughout the 5-0 Ashes mauling, there were moments where England possessed the upper-hand over their hosts and failed to make the most of these opportunities. This appeared to rear its ugly head again in the first installment of the series, as some loose bowling and power hitting allowed a West Indies side – who had failed to reach three figures until the 33rd over – to come back into the contest. Ultimately this cost them victory as the batsmen let a continually climbing run-rate overawe them. This failure to convert chances is evidenced effectively by the statistics which show that only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have lower win percentages across all formats in the last year. Once again they seemed to be on the front foot in this game as the Windies limped to 159 all out. Despite old habits coming to the surface, they calmed any lingering doubts and hope that this will mark a new dawn in the 50-over format.
In recent times, the Trinidad born batsmen has proved to be a vital cog in the machine for an improving West Indian side, with an average of 32.76. Throughout the last two years, he has shown signs of being able to produce an important contribution in the one-day format. The 29-year-old, whose uncle Phil is the current coach of the Ireland national team, already possesses a wealth of experience on the international circuit – having made 56 appearances. He is proving to be a threat to England in this series already, making 65 and 70 against Broad’s side. A hard man to shift from the crease (he has only failed to reach double figures twice in his last 17 innings), everyone connected with West Indian cricket will be hoping he can turn sporadic performances into consistent displays.