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March 1, 2014
Match FactsMarch 2, Antigua
Colin Croft thinks that West Indies could try to put England into even more of a spin
The Big Picture
Stuart Broad described England's performance as "brilliant" for all but the last 10 overs of each innings against West Indies in the opening ODI in Antigua as they conceded 269 for six and then collapsed to lose by 15 runs.
Those less persuaded by England's talk of a new era were less impressed. England did concede 116 in those last 10 overs (and even more strikingly 85 off the last five as Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy went ballistic), but total satisfaction arguably only applied to the first 16 overs with the ball when they took four West Indies wickets, and disappeared with the bat the minute Michael Lumb left the crease.
Broad's decision not to bowl Ben Stokes on such a turgid, unresponsive surface was a strong-minded call which based on Stokes' recent one-day displays possessed some logic, but his decision to risk Joe Root's offspin in the closing overs was asking too much and, as the West Indies set themselves up for the final onslaught from Bravo and Sammy, Ravi Bopara seemed worthy of a spell on such a surface.
West Indies, by contrast, will delight in how they twice turned the game in their favour with both bat and ball, recovering once more after Lumb's hundred had seemingly put England within range of victory. They were helped by England's confusion, by Broad's own admission, over what constitutes a wide in one-day cricket. It seems as if their research is not all it is cracked up to be.
Watch out for...
Sunil Narine was identified as a key figure before the opening ODI and nothing has changed. Only Lumb seemed to read him with any confidence. England's record against unorthodox spin (and often spin of any sort) in limited-overs cricket remains poor and, with World Twenty20 set for Bangladesh this month, they urgently need to wise up.
There was much to admire about Moeen Ali's England debut, but it did nothing to dispel his reputation as a maker of delicate 40s: that is exactly what he did, and he was faltering before he got out weakly. Whether he can develop the habit of playing long innings will ultimately decide his international future.
West Indies might be tempted to give left-arm spinner Nikita Miller a go after observing England's problems against Sunil Narine, although it is difficult to see how they could balance the side so an unchanged XI is more likely.
West Indies (possible) 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Kieron Powell, 3 Kirk Edwards, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Lendl Simmons, 6 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Jason Holder.
England will take no risks with either Eoin Morgan or Alex Hales ahead of World Twenty20. With no obvious alternative available for Luke Wright, perhaps Tim Bresnan is most under threat if England decide to make changes, with Jade Dernbach and Stephen Parry in the wings.
England (possible) 1 Moeen Ali, 2 Michael Lumb, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Ben Stokes, 5 Joe Root, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad (capt), 10 Chris Jordan, 11 James Tredwell
Pitch and conditions
The lack of pace in West Indies' pitches must be a factor in their general decline, but judging by the first ODI, nothing is about to change. The pitch will be re-used and is unlikely to be any livelier than first time around.
Stats and trivia
"Over 250 we back our bowlers."
Dwayne Bravo, West Indies captain
"If I'm brutally honest, we had quite a strong plan to bowl wide yorkers and
get the guys hitting into the big wind, and we got done a little bit by not
knowing the rules, I suppose."
Stuart Broad, England captain, bemoans confusion over the wides regulations in ODIs
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Virat Kohli's innings on the final day transcended the conditions, the bowlers and his batting partners, and when it was all in vain, he displayed remarkable grace in defeat
The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game
Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena
The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be
Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it because it is not 100%, is not good enough
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