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Stokes and Broad Headline England’s Series Win



Stokes and Broad Headline England’s Test Series Win Over West Indies


Stokes and Broad Headline England’s Series Win

Despite rain having made its presence across the three tests of the England – West Indies series, the hosts came back decisively in the two tests in Manchester after West Indies scored a hard-fought win in Southampton in the first test. For test cricket to resume under these extraordinary times has been a successful experiment and credit to the two boards, players and the supporting cast for making the series possible.

And then to Stokes. What an impressive amount of numbers he stacked up in the series. For the record, 363 runs and 9 wickets in the series are superlative returns. During the second test his effort to save a boundary from his own bowling got plaudits from commentators and then followers of the game on the social media. His presence was writ large across the three tests. He stood in as the captain when Joe Root had to take leave of absence during the first match.

His deep sense of concentration while batting and playing according to the situation was evident during the course of the two England innings in the second test. Put in to bat by the West Indies captain Jason Holder, England were pushed to a tricky corner when Stokes joined Sibley on the first day of the second test. Trailing in the series, Windies had a chance to take control but were ably resisted by Stokes and Sibley and, now with the trophy in England’s cabinet, that’s where the shift in the fortunes became palpable.

West Indies couldn’t better England scores from there on and their batters stitched a few middling scores but didn’t come up with big scores to match England.


Broad’s fiery comeback in Manchester

Stuart Broad is in a select group of 500 test wicket takers. That is an astonishing feat of achievement and a career played under the shadow of arguably England’s greatest test bowler James Anderson, Broad’s returns in the series showed how he has been more than a foil to Anderson and together both of them have contributed in England’s success at home and on tours for the better part of more than a decade now. Broad as a tall, wiry bowler made his debut in 2007 and his exploits in red ball cricket and, more particularly at home, have been a defining factor in England’s winning campaigns.

At the start of the series his exclusion was met with a sense of astonishment as well as the team management were given a lark by some on how they’re preparing for the next Ashes, due for 2021-22 Australian summer and maybe the time has come to pass the baton to Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. Broad’s answer was 6 wickets in the second test and then 10 in the decider where he ran through Windies’ top order crucially during the first innings and returned 6/31 to signal his intentions of where he is at in his long career and a strong answer to many to hold on to his epitaph at this stage.

England’s pace attack too good for brittle Windies batting

As Stokes felt the rigours of doing it all during the first two matches and was picked as a batsman only during the third test, his crucial strikes with the soft ball in the middle of innings weren’t missed eventually as along with Broad, England’s other big all-rounder Chris Woakes stepped up. His five wickets on the final day wrapped up Windies’ disappointing batting. The three tests played in three weeks also showed the difference in depth in both the squads. While West Indies were off the blocks quickly during the opening few days, they slacked off during the second and third game and England looked spoilt in the bench strength as they rotated their strike bowlers and first levelled the series and then won in convincing performances.

West Indies would look back and rue at the advantage they frittered away after the first test and also their brittle batting where many got a start but didn’t make enough to challenge England. But conducive pitch and weather conditions, coupled with an unrelenting pace attack did the visitors in yet again as their wait to win a series in England after 32 years got extended.

The series played under the threat of the pandemic and a larger message of anti-racism though did make a mark beyond the boundary. In captain Jason Holder’s message at the end of the series on Tuesday was an earnest appeal to the England team to have a reciprocal series in the Caribbean islands, which could help in offsetting some of their financial hardships. That should be taken up by both the boards and the first contest of the newly-named Richards-Botham trophy may happen by the end of this year.


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