After facing a disappointing defeat from the hands of the Caribbean, the English squad was joined by regular captain Joe Root. The Old Trafford Cricket Ground was ready to witness the England v/s West Indies test fantasy cricket for the 2nd time in the series. Ben Stokes was unburdened as the captaincy went away to the regular customer and he was ready to play some free cricket. West Indies captain Jason Holder won the toss and decided to bowl first to take advantage of the overcast conditions.
Was winning the toss and choosing to bowl a good decision? Let’s take a look at how the 2nd test proceeded:
Roadblocks At The Start
England opened with Burns and Sibley and lost their first scalp at the score of 29 with Rory Burns getting caught in front by Roston Chase. Chase took the second scalp immediately as he got Crawley caught by Captain Holder in the very next ball. In came Root to avoid the hattrick but could not survive for long as he departed at 23 on the bowling of Alzarri Joseph. This led Ben Stokes to the crease who joined Sibley to steady the England ship.
Sibley & Stokes Display Proper Test Cricket Batting
Dom Sibley continued to bat with his steady stance and epic test batting scoring 120 off 372 balls with just 5 boundaries. Along with Stokes batting at the other end they put on a record 260 runs for the 4th wicket which typically broke the backbone of the Caribbean bowling attack. Ben Stokes, with the sublime form that he’s in went on to score 176 in 356 balls hitting 17 boundaries and 2 sixes. England reached a decent score of 469/9 as they declared and put West Indies in to bat.
West Indies Struggle but Avoid Follow-On
The Caribbean players came in to bat and visibly the English bowlers were spot on and took full advantage of the overcast conditions. The ball was moving and they were just ‘edges’ away from a breakthrough. John Campbell couldn’t survive for long as he was caught plumbed in front of Sam Curran. Alzarri Joseph came in as a night watchman to avoid the loss of an important wicket at the end of day 2. A few glimpses of half-centuries from Brathwaite, Brooks, and Chase helped Windies to avoid the follow on but eventually got wrapped up at 287.
England Shift Gears as Stokes Opens The Innings
Ben Stokes from the 1st innings and Ben Stokes from the 2nd innings seemed like two different individuals. The elegance, patience and grit that he showed in the 1st innings switched to a dominating, demolishing and destructive style of batting in the 2nd innings as England were convinced to get a good lead before they put the opponents to bat because it was already Day 5. Stokes scored a quick 78* in just 57 balls with 4 boundaries and 3 sixes to help Joe Root declare the innings at 129/3 with the lead of 311 runs. West Indies now needed 312 to win the match and we were left with just 76 overs.
English Bowling Brigade Rips Through The Windies Batting Line-Up
The debate of not playing Stuart Broad in the 1st test seemed to be something that the bowler took very seriously. He returned with 3 wickets in the 1st innings and again took 3 crucial wickets to send off the West Indian batsmen. Brooks and Blackwood showed some heart after they scored a 100-run partnership scoring individual 50s but they were eventually not able to avoid the inevitable loss. Bess, Woakes and Stokes managed to pick 2 wickets each as West Indies got bowled out at 198. Chris Woakes joined the elite club as he took his 100th wicket in the form of Dowrich. He is now one of the few Englishmen with 1000+ runs and 100 wickets in the format.
England won the match by 113 runs, quite comprehensively in the end after a much-appreciated team effort. Who will play the 3rd test as James Anderson and Archer too, await their chance. Will Broad be left out even after taking 6 wickets in the match? We will have to wait and see in the 3rd test between the two teams as it will now become the decider after Old Trafford’s 1-1 that has squared the series. The 3rd test will be on the 24th of July at the same venue yet again.
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