England vs West Indies 3rd Test Preview: Both teams set to make several changes as rain threat looms large
Do England run the risk of burning out Ben Stokes? Who out of Anderson and Broad will play? Will West Indies play Rahkeem Cornwall?
Venue - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
Start time - 10:00 AM GMT/11:00 AM LOCAL
Head to Head record in Tests - England: 50 West Indies: 58 Drawn: 51
Weather on Day 1 - Partly Cloudy, 14-21°C, Precipitation: 10%, Humidity: 67%, Wind: 11 km/h
A quicker pitch at Old Trafford but spinners will play a part
West Indies would be ruing the fact that they let an opportunity to draw the 2nd Test slip away from their hands. The team was well poised for a draw in the afternoon of day 4 but lost 5-6 wickets for just 40-odd runs and although they were successful in avoiding the follow-on, playing out 85-90 overs was never going to happen on a day 5 Old Trafford pitch.
Talking of the pitch, a quicker surface is expected in Manchester for this match - a bit closer to the conventional nature of the venue. A different strip to that used for the second Test will be used for the match.
That said, a bit more pace and bounce on offer does not mean lack of spin. The inherent nature of the surface at the Old Trafford always has something for the spinners and both teams will be looking to make amends in their spin department to make the most of the conducive conditions.
A setback for the fans is that there is a probability of rain on all of the last 4 days of the Test match. While the first day will be partly cloudy, precipitation on days 2-5 will vary between 40% and 90% and a considerable amount of time is set to be lost.
Truth be told, we will be fortunate to have a result in this game if the weather turns out to be as it is expected at the moment. In that case, West Indies will take back the Wisden Trophy home with them given that they are currently the defending champions.
Welcome Rahkeem Cornwall
Both teams will be looking to make a few changes to their playing XI. West Indies opted for an unchanged team in the second Test and paid the price for it. In hindsight, they would have been better off to make a couple of changes as their bowlers had not completely recovered with a gap of just 3 days between matches. Jason Holder's call to bowl first after winning the toss did not help them either.
Shannon Gabriel might be too stiff to take the field and is expected to be replaced by spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, who was seen practicing regularly on the side pitches during the second Test. Cornwall can also give the team a few runs with the bat as his List A batting average of 33.75 suggests.
Windies batting faces rejig
John Campbell and Shai Hope have failed to make a mark in the first two Tests and West Indies coach Phil Simmons suggested in the post-match press conference of the second Test that the two might have to sit out.
Shayne Moseley is expected to take Campbell's place at the top of the order. He had scores of 40 and 83* in the first of the two intra-squad warm-up matches that West Indies played after landing in England.
Legbreak bowler and right-hand batsman Nkrumah Bonner is expected to replace Shai Hope. Bonner will bat in the middle order and can provide the team with another spin option. He was the fourth-highest run-scorer in Windies last domestic season.
To adjust the batting order, wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich, who pocketed a pair in Manchester, is expected to be replaced by top-order batsman and keeper Joshua Da Silva who played knocks of 133 and 56 (both unbeaten) in the second intra-squad warm-up match.
Broad or Anderson?
Like West Indies, England are also expected to make three-four changes to their XI. Chris Woakes and Sam Curran are set to miss out with Jofra Archer and James Anderson likely to claim back their spots.
Given that the Old Trafford surface was a bit slow in the last match, England can consider playing Mark Wood ahead of Anderson to impart more pace to their attack. In that case, the team will have to pick one between Anderson and Broad.
Jack Leach set to return
Dom Bess did alright in the last Test but playing a left-arm spinner in Jack Leach can be a more effective option against the West Indies side, which is predominantly made up of right-handers.
Stokes won't be rested
The home side would have breathed a sigh of relief that the reason why Ben Stokes decided to pull out midway while bowling in the 2nd Test was just stiffness and nothing more.
Stokes is good to go for this game, as confirmed by Chris Silverwood. However, he will not bowl much as playing six back to back Tests, interspersed with white-ball games, will take a lot of toll on his body.
Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:
England - Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Root(c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler(wk), James Anderson/Mark Wood, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach
West Indies - Kraigg Brathwaite, Shayne Moseley, Shamarh Brooks, Joshua Da Silva(wk), Nkrumah Bonner, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder(c), Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Rahkeem Cornwall
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