England and the West Indies clash in the third and final test at the home of English cricket tomorrow. The second test at Headingley produced a hugely entertaining match that was eventually won by the tourists, after an inspired batting display from Kraigg Braithwaite and young Shai Hope. This victory for the Windies came as a surprise after they were torn apart in Edgbaston, losing 19 wickets in a day to lose by an innings and 209 runs. This sets up what should be a enthralling match up at Lord’s – with both sides having huge motives to win.
For England, they are firmly in the run up to the Ashes series now. Having beaten South Africa 3-1 earlier this summer – and with the performance in Edgbaston, England fans would have been gaining a lot of confidence. Headingley’s loss though was a set back, and England have a perfect chance to show their character and bounce back against Stuart Law’s side. England simply cannot lose, their confidence will take a huge blow should they lose to the visitors. The Windies themselves though have a huge incentive to win as well though, following their first Test win in England for 17 years, the West Indies have a incredible chance to embarrass England, and win a series that nobody gave them a hope of winning.
After the game at Headingley, Indian cricket lend apparently sent a message to Brian Lara, another legend of the game, saying the result was one the cricketing world needed. The defeat England suffered was mainly down to the brilliance of young batsmen Shai Hope, who became the first player to score two centuries in a test match at Headingley. If England want to avoid further embarrassment ahead of the Ashes, Trevor Bayliss needs to look at a way of stopping Hope.
It should certainly be a fiery Test match, with the Windies confident they can cause another shock. Stuart Law, the West Indies coach had publicly been heaping praise on this side, while making sure pundits – like Nasser Hussain, know that the victory wasn’t a one off surprise. Law had said Hussain should ‘chomp on that humble pie’ following huge criticism of his side after the slaughter in Birmingham.
Many England fans would have bee hoping to go into this test with a 2-0 lead, which would’ve given the chance for the Australian coach to experiment with his side – ahead of a tough series down under to come. This hasn’t been the case. Bayliss must field his strongest side, as they simply cannot lose. Defeat would boost Australia’s confidence, despite their first ever loss to Bangladesh. England do remain underdogs though for the challenge to come, meaning victories are needed in order to give the players and fans hope. Therefore the Lords Test is enormously important – both sides have a massive point to prove. A fascinating must win Test awaits tomorrow.