With the Series well-poised at 1-1, the third one now has everything to look for and the players will be rearing to give it all as the two teams face off again at Manchester.
Both the teams have an exceptional pace attack with the majority of the wickets being claimed by them for both the sides. The batting hasn't been all the good for the visitors as apart from Shamarh Brooks, no one was able to play a sustaining innings par the first test match where Jermaine Blackwood played a stunner to win the game for the visitors.
Ben Stokes contribution to their win is to be noted as he made all the difference for the hosts and if he decides to replicate the same, the visitors will have lots of work to do.
The toss will remain a key-factor as the second test which was played on the same pitch saw the pitch deteriorating with time and once the pitch starts to stay low it is going to be really difficult for the batting side to chase any decent total.
Possible starting XI of England:
Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (C), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (WK), Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Possible starting XI of West Indies:
Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (WK), Jason Holder (C), Kemar Roach, Raymon Reifer, Shannon Gabriel
Dominic Sibley and Roston Chase
The 24-year old opener has already played some stunning innings since he made his debut in November. In the 8 matches he has played for England he has already scored 532 runs at an average of 44.33 and in the last two matches against West Indies, he has scored 170 runs at an average of 56.67.
With Shannon Gabrilel claiming his wicket twice in the first test, the opener showed resistance in the 2nd test withholding the pacers. But he clearly exposed his weakness against spinners as he was struggling to judge the pace of the ball on occasion and falling prey to Roston Chase.
With Roston Chase having a merry time with the ball and claiming 5 wickets the first innings of the 2nd test it would be a great battle to see when the Young opener takes on Roston Chase.
Ben Stokes vs Kemar Roach
English Star all-rounder seems unstoppable ever since the spectacular World Cup win in 2019. He has been creating records at will and taking on the bowlers at ease. Though he hasn't shown any weakness, he did find Roach’s bouncers a bit on his weak side but still managed to play it off, such is his form. Ben Stokes now has scored 343 runs at an jaw-dropping average of 114.33 in this series and claimed 9 wickets with the ball.
Kemar Roach claimed 4 wickets in the second test and was very unlucky at times. It would be a great battle to see if Roach can trouble Stokes with his bouncers again, also how the 29-year old has prepared himself to face it off in the all important tie-breaker.
Pitch Report and Match Prediction
The Pitch in Old Trafford, Manchester did offer assistance to the pacers in the first 3 days and later transformed to be a slow wicket and aided the slow bowlers. The players can expect the same going into the Tie-breaker. With both the teams having exceptional pace attacks. It should be a tough match up ahead.
Though West Indies have the bowlers to restrict the English team to a modest total. The visitors have been lacking the batting punch. The crucial innings by Ben Stokes in both innings was the game changer. It is to be seen what England have in store if their star all-rounder and opener Dom Sibley fails to perform.
Roston Chase who picked up 5 wickets in the first innings for West Indies will remain the key player to look for once the pitch slows down.
With Ben Stokes breaking records at will, it wouldn't be a surprise that he will again be the key player for the hosts.
Cricwizz Prediction - England to Win the match and series 2-1.