West Indies v England
Thursday 24 March, 14:00
TV: live on BT Sport
Windies keep faith
Playing England sure brings the best out of West Indies. They have been gritty and determined in the face of scoreboard pressure, with Captain Fantastic Kraigg Brathwaite leading the way.
After conceding a whopping 507, road or not it took terrific mental fortitude for West Indies to knuckle down. In the past against other international sides they have crumbled.
Their confidence that they can more than match this England side if they get the chance to bat first is summed up by naming an unchanged squad for game three. Kyle Mayers, the reserve batter, and pacer Anderson Philip stand by. Mayers might come in for opener John Campbell who had a poor game in Barbados.
Probable XI: Brathwaite, Campbell, Bonner, Brooks, Blackwood, Holder, Da Silva, Joseph, Roach, Permaul, Seales
Robinson should return
England are likely to make changes with Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton in line for recalls in place of Matt Fisher and Chris Woakes respectively.
They should also give serious consideration to leggie Matt Parkinson. Had he whirled away in partnership with Jack Leach on the final day in Bridgetown then England's unlikely victory charge could have had more impetus.
But not picking Parkinson is indicative of the same safety-first approach that skip Joe Root deploys. He batted on too long again so is at least consistent.
With the pitches so flat, England have learnt precious little about their bowling reserves. It seems like a good tour for Messrs Broad and Anderson to have missed.
Possible XI: Crawley, Lees, Root, Lawrence, Stokes, Bairstow, Foakes, Overton, Robinson, Leach, Mahmood.
There have been only three Tests played at St George's, Grenada. And the last was in 2015, won by England by nine wickets.
Unfortunately there's not a huge amount to go on from the first-class games, either. Guyana were rolled for 116 in the first dig in February, there was another low score (216) in the previous match in 2020, too.
Five of the last six have produced results, though, which suggests the ground staff will have had to have worked hard to produce something as supine as the first two matches. We'll have to adopt a wait-and-see approach for innings runs before playing.
Sportsbook's 6/4 that both teams score 300 in first-innings could look very big indeed. They go 5/2 that both bust 350 or more. Bet the markets here.
West Indies value
West Indies are 4.48, England 2.285/4 and the draw is 2.747/4. Even though we've run the risk of dulling the value senses with two straightforward wins on the draw, we still recognise value when we see it.
And it's the West Indies. The hosts have given a strong account of themselves and we really don't see any evidence of the gulf in class that the the odds suggest.
There is one caveat, though. We want the toss on our side and Windies batting first. From the first-class matches we suspect there could be surface deterioration and we'd feel like mugs if West Indies were on the wrong end of it.
No rain is forecast but there's not much sun. All five days are currently forecast to be cloudy. Bet the market here.
Root copped for us nicely in game two and he has been boosted again for top England bat in the first-innings at 21/10. Brathwaite is also boosted to 10/3.
Jack Leach is 11/4 favourite for top England bowler in the first dig. In comparison, Veersammy Permaul looks big at 7/2. If the pitch is flat spinners will get through plenty of overs. Bet the markets here.
Who wins the IPL? This week on Cricket...Only Bettor