This is a changed West Indies team, which performed well in every department of the game at Southampton. Their batting did not have much experience but their middle order batting brilliantly silenced all their critics. The bowling of WI performed as an unit and the result is in front of you. At the same time, it is also true that England took the West Indies too lightly.
The impact of the start of international cricket after a long time was clearly visible on the player`s performances. Players did not appear in rhythm on several occasions during the match. Players have not been able to practice as much as they should for a Test match. Not only this, an atmosphere of fear was also seen among the players. Many players of this match will have to work on their skills. I am sure that the players who are also facing such problems will get over it soon.
The performance of captain Holder, fast bowler Gabriel and batsman Blackwood of WI proves a big difference to the match. While Holder bowled a career-best bowling in the first innings, Gabriel bowled well in both innings. But especially in the first inning, his bowling proved to be an asset for WI. As a result, England was in backfoot in the start of the match so that West Indies got a decent lead in first innings. At the same time, superb knock by Blackwood also cannot be ignored. He batted brilliantly in both innings. Especially in the second inning, he did such work in the middle overs that England could not take advantage of some situations.
By the spectacular performance of Holder, Gabriel and Blackwood, the Man of the Match award became difficult. Gabriel won the battle. At the same time, it was a wise decision. It was also unfortunate for Blackwood who performed superbly in both the innings.
There were some moments during the match when England made a tremendous comeback. On one occasion, 98-run partnership between Crawley and Ben Stoke and on another occasion, the early dismissal of top three WI batsmen were moments where England were looking strong. But WI has to be praised that it has overcome this crisis and completely reversed the situation.
Ben Stoke, a new captain decided to bat first on the fresh wicket while WI bowlers took advantage of this opportunity and put England under pressure with superb bowling. From making strategy to a field placement and also seeing as a bowler that there is no bowler under-spoken, I hope he learns a lot from this match. Joe Root is about to return in the next match. It is obvious that this will strengthen England’s batting and captaincy. There can be a lot of change in the team after his return. Secondly, not having got place in the previous match, Stuart Broad and Joe Root will strengthen their positions in the remaining tests. In this match Anderson could not bowl to his potential. Broad’s bowling would definitely make the match more exciting. England team will now try to win both the remaining matches with more preparation and more seriousness.
At the same time, the West Indies team also appeared without many legendary players like Andre Russell, Gayle, Bravo, Hatmyer, Sunil Narine will now be considered in white ball cricket. In bowling, a trio of Gabriel, Holder and Kemar Roach empowers the team. The need is to consistently perform well. If the WI continue to perform like this and maintain the same self-confidence, then I am confident that the WI team will not only be able to win a series in England for the first time since 1988 but also return to the old glory. There is no doubt that the morale of the West Indies team is very high.
(Writer is a coach of Virat Kohli and a Dronacharya awardee)