The West Indies five wicket victory at Headingley in the second test at 20-1 odds no less will go down asone of the great turnarounds in sport
The West Indies cricket malaise is long term and borne not only of poor depth of talent but by mismanagement of the game in the region. This touring squad is missing up to 15 players, whose disaffection began in a dispute with the cricket board over money and they now either ply their trade in T20 leagues or have simply made themselves unavailable for test cricket. It is all very well having a transitional period from one set of established players to another, all sides have those, but to do it with no senior players at all is a tough ask
Against this background the West Indies five wicket victory at Headingley in the second test at 20-1 odds no less will go down asone of the great turnarounds in sport following on from their Edgaston humiliation and loss in the day/night test in three days the week before.
Since August 1997 the West Indies have played 88 Tests away from home and have won only four, including now two of their last five away tests.
The batsman Shai Hope was absolutely brilliant. He went into the Headingley match with a Test average of 18 and now became the first man ever to score two centuries in a match at the ground. Hope and Brathwaite faced 109 overs in the Test scoring 390 runs. Brathwaite scored 134 and 95.
Meanwhile fast bowler Shannon Gabriel who missed the first test took 4-51 and exposed England’s achilles heel again and it is now 19 times in 65 innings in the last 3 years that England have been at least 3 wickets down for 50 runs or less in their first innings. The strength of their middle to late order batting usually bails them out, but it remains a big concern.
The final test of the series takes place at Lords in London on Thursday. Were England 2-0 up as widely expected no doubt England would have experimented at different combinations ahead of the difficult winter tour of Australia. As it is they have named the same squad with a series to win.
Having been 20-1 to win at Headingley the West Indies are now best priced 17/2 for this match, England now 1/3 and the draw 11/2. A one off performance borne of embarrassment aside, and possibly some c0omplacency on the English side, it has to be said that England should bounce back and take the series. 1/3 England is best priced with William Hill.
Joe Root at 5/2 with Bet365 and Skybet remains England’s best player, often comes in after early wickets and rescues the situation and remains a good bet for Top Egland batsman.