West Indies bowlers undermined by batting woes

When the West Indies arrived in England for a three-Test series, many observers wondered if their batsmen could give a talented attack enough runs to play with, reports AFP.

In the end it was a task that proved beyond the tourists’ top-order during a 2-1 reverse that saw England regain the Wisden Trophy.

The Caribbean side struck first, winning the first Test at Southampton by four wickets, with Jermaine Blackwood’s 95 anchoring their impressive run-chase in the fourth innings of the match.

But it was a different story in the next two matches at Old Trafford, where a fired-up Stuart Broad, controversially omitted from the series opener, took 16 wickets — including his 500th in Tests.

Facing Broad in English conditions, where he repeatedly makes the ball move off a good length, is one of world cricket’s more challenging assignments.

But whereas the West Indies survived for 70.1 overs in the second innings of the second Test, they were all out in a mere 37.1 overs as England completed a 269-run win in Manchester on Tuesday.

Broad was reunited with new-ball partner James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, in the third Test and West Indies coach Phil Simmons said that gave his side a hard task.

“Wherever you go it’s going to be tough, in England’s it’s going to be toughest with two bowlers (Anderson and Broad), one there in 600, one there in 500 wickets,” he said.

Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite and Shamarh Brooks all twice reached fifty but none went on to reach three figures. In contrast, Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley scored vital hundreds for the home side.

For all England’s excellence with the ball, there were several self-inflicted wounds.

Shai Hope, who scored his only two Test hundreds against England at Headingley three years ago, gave his wicket away on Tuesday by mistiming a pull off Chris Woakes to mid-on — an attacking shot when the West Indies were batting for a draw.

Batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer both declined invitations to tour for a series taking place against the backdrop of the coronavirus.