England v West Indies second test preview


England captain Andrew Strauss will lead his team into the second test at Durham against the West Indies today. | Photo: Paul

Pete Hirst looks at England’s performance against West Indies’ second test preview

Strauss has defended the role of test cricket in the current world game, rebutting Gayle’s claims it has little future due to the rise of the Twenty20 format. The England skipper will be hoping his side backs up his argument with another positive performance this week, after disposing of Gayle’s lackluster West Indies in the first test.

England look set to stick to the same XI that beat the West Indies within three days at the home of cricket — Lords,  however there could be a recall for Ryan Sidebottom who has recovered from the Achilles injury that hampered his winter. The left arm seamer has been back in the wickets for his county Nottinghamshire, already chalking up seven scalps in two games.

His recall could see Tim Bresnan, one of last weeks debutants left out, however National Selector Geoff Miller said Sidebottom’s call up was only to “boost their bowling options” meaning Bresnan could get a second bite at the cherry at Chester Le Street.

The other debutant from last week, Graham Onions looks set to retain his place after impressing at Lords, taking 5-38 in the West Indies first innings and picking up another two in the second innings to give him a perfect debut.

After his century last week, Ravi Bopara is certain to bat at number three whilst the media vultures are circulating above Paul Collingwood’s head after his weak performance at Lords, meaning he has to get runs at his home ground to make the number five spot his ahead of the Ashes.

Much has been said about Chris Gayle arriving in the country just two days before the first test at Lords, and now with his comments about the five day format of the game, the West Indies skipper is in need of runs at Chester Le Street. Gayle will also be looking for the majority of his players to turn in a good performance this week after their abject display at Lords.

However the only change the West Indies look  to make is the recall of all rounder Darren Sammy who impressed during the One Day series against England during the winter. This looks set to spell the end of a brief stay in test cricket for Lionel Baker, who was wicketless in the first test.

England go into this game with one eye on the Ashes series later this summer, however a poor performance here will see the Aussies licking their lips over their up and coming visit. On the otherhand, a performance like last weeks efficient display could see the talk of whitewashes and Australian domination disappear as Andrew Strauss leads his youthful team onwards and upwards.

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