England vs the Windies – Can The Hosts Fight Back to Win the Test Series?

England’s third Test match against the West Indies begins on Thursday and, with the series currently at one Test apiece, both teams have everything to play for. So what’s happened so far and what does it mean for England in the run-up to the Ashes?

England vs the West Indies – Who Will Seize the Test Series Win?

Cricket fans would be forgiven for thinking England would definitely win the series after the first Test match last month. England trounced their opponents with seeming ease, taking just three of the five days to secure the win. They triumphed by an innings and 209 runs, having taken an impressive nineteen wickets within a single day, much to the delight of the Edgbaston crowd.

To the surprise of cricket experts everywhere, however, the visitors turned the tables on England at Headingley in the second Test. The West Indies won the match by five wickets to secure their first Test match victory on English soil since 2000. Shai Hope made history in the process; he became the first player to reach a century in each innings of a first-class tie at the famous cricket ground.

While some have criticised Joe Root’s decision to declare for England towards the end of the fourth day, Trevor Bayliss, the team’s head coach, claimed that the problem lay elsewhere. He told the Telegraph that England’s bowlers were “a little bit two sides of the wicket and a little bit short”, and that they let the Windies “off the hook with balls on the hip or easy four balls”. This clearly isn’t something that England want to do when playing Australia later in the year, with the coveted Ashes cricket trophy at stake.

Moving Forward – What Lessons Have Been Learned So Far?

According to James Anderson, England need to improve if they want to win down under. Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “We can’t go over there, be inconsistent, and expect to win a series — or any series, to be honest”.

However, Joe Root claimed that, despite their loss, England can take heart from the fact that they kept fighting for the win. “I thought it was a real step forward for this side, finding a way to show fight and character to get into a position so we could declare,” he told the BBC.

The fact that England won their first ever day-night Test match is also a good sign for their fans. While floodlit cricket matches aren’t new at county level, they aren’t regular occurences and this was only the sixth ever international Test to have been played this way.

One of the major discussion points before England’s day-night Test match was how well they would be able to deal with the pink ball used, as it’s different from the traditional red version, both in feel and the way that it plays. However, England’s players seemed to handle it well. That’s good news for their fans, as the second of the five Test matches in the 2017-18 Ashes series will use the day-night format.

While England still have a lot of work to do if they want to win the Ashes, Australia aren’t having the easiest of times either. Last month, for example, they suffered a Test match defeat to Bangladesh for the first time ever.

Will England or the West Indies win the series decider? How do you rate England’s chances of claiming the Ashes? Leave a comment below.