England’s leading cricketers will be taking on the Windies in a three-match series of ODIs this month. With just three months left to go until the ICC Champions Trophy takes place, the series will be an important test of England’s form. So how can cricket fans in the UK keep up to date with the latest action, and how did England fare in their preparation matches?
The West Indies vs. England Series – When and Where are the Matches Taking Place?
The first West Indies vs. England One Day International series gets underway today, at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua. The teams will meet at the same venue on Sunday, before heading to Barbados for the final One Day International, which will take place on Thursday 9 March at the Kensington Oval. Each match commences at 13.30 GMT.
Despite the fact that the series will be taking place more than 6800 miles away, UK-based sports lovers will be able to follow each day’s play with ease. Sky Sports subscribers can watch each day’s action as it happens on Sky Sports 2, for example, while the BBC will provide live coverage on the radio and online.
Will England Triumph or Will the Windies be in Winning Form?
England had a torrid time of it recently, when they took on India in a host of Twenty20 matches, ODIs and Test Matches, so they’ll be keen to start this One Day International series off with a win.
They’ve played two preparation matches against since arriving in the West Indies, and were victorious in both. Eoin Morgan, England’s team captain, led his men to a 117-run victory against the University of West Indies Vice-Chancellor’s XI at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium, St. Kitts, on Saturday, scoring 95 off 84 balls himself. Jason Roy and Joe Root also made impressive contributions, scoring 79 off 43 and 71 off 76 balls respectively.
England were lucky to be the victors of Monday’s match against the West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI, however, winning by just two wickets after a poor batting performance. They struggled to deal with their opponents, including 6ft 7 inch tall Rahkeem Cornwall, who scored 59 from 61 balls. Reduced from 128 for 1 to 177 for 7, they managed to claim the win in the end, mainly thanks to the efforts of Chris Woakes. It was his unbeaten run-a-ball innings of 47 that enabled England to secure the match with just seven balls remaining.
Even more worryingly, Jake Ball had to leave the field in his third over, after suffering a knee injury. The following day, the press announced that South African-born Tom Curran, the Surrey bowler, who was in Sri Lanka on the British Lions tour, will be flying out to Antigua to provide cover for Ball.
If England want to add the Champions Trophy to their cabinet of cricket awards, they’ll need to start showing their true potential now. In February, the Telegraph’s cricket correspondent, Scyld Berry, stated that England were “growing into a fine side”, but questioned whether they had the “big-game toughness” to win tight matches. Their performance against the West Indies this month may provide the answer to that question at a critical time for both the team and its fans.
How will you be keeping up with the action? Who do you think will win the West Indies vs. England ODIs? Share your predictions with us on Twitter or Facebook, or leave a comment below.