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England v West Indies, First Test - Preview

Edgbaston is all set to host the first ever day-night Test in the country
Edgbaston is all set to host the first ever day-night Test in the country

Thursday sees England and the West Indies go head to head at Edgbaston, in the first ever day-night test to be held on English soil. Play is due to start at 2pm and will continue right through until 9pm and there’s the possibility of an added 30 mins being played at the end of each day, meaning play could end at 9.30pm. It will be the fifth day-night test series to be held after its inception in November 2015. Australia have beaten New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan in the day-night format with Pakistan victorious against the West Indies in the other.

England head into this three day test series off of the back of an impressive 3-1 series win over South Africa, with Moeen Ali starring for the Three Lions. The West Indies, on the other hand, haven’t been successful in a test series since beating Bangladesh in 2014. They’ve lost their last six test series and England will be looking to get the upper hand on their inexperienced opponents. Things have been made even harder for the visitors after key men, Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo were all declared unavailable due to injury.

The uphill battle the West Indies face can be best appreciated by looking at reputable online sports betting operators like Unibet, who have England to win the series priced at 1/20, whilst West Indies are huge outsiders priced at 28/1! However, anyone who fancies a flutter, can look at alternative betting markets which offer much more value and interest like who will score the most runs (Top Batsman) or will take the most wickets (Top Bowler).

The schedule for the England vs West Indies test series sees the first test take place at Edgbaston from the 17th to the 21st of August in the day-night format. The following two tests aren’t being played in the day-night set up. The second takes place at Headingly from the 25th – 29th of August with the third at Lords between September 7th-11th.

England will be using the test series ahead of their Ashes defence against Australia as a chance to iron out a few problems that still persist within the camp. With England currently without a strong opening batsmen as well as a proven number three and number five, it will allow players to stake a claim and to show they’re capable of performing consistently at this level.

Against South Africa Tom Westley was in at number three with Dawid Malan at number five. Both have yet to convince at this level but they have the chance against the West Indies in the first test, to stake their claims as regulars who can deliver the goods. Keaton Jennings, who averaged only 15 during the test series vs South Africa, has been replaced as expected. Mark Stoneman replaces him and the 30 year old will be looking to grab the long overdue opportunity with both hands.

With England’s top order batsmen under increasing scrutiny, as it seems the problems have still not been resolved, it will be a chance for people to step up to the plate against an extremely inexperienced West Indies side who are missing a number of key men. Another convincing test series victory will also stand them in good stead ahead of their Ashes defence that begins at the end of November, at The Gabba in Brisbane.

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