England v West Indies, 3rd Test, Edgbaston June 6, 2012

Off-field issues dominate final Test

Preview by Andrew McGlashan

Match Facts

June 7-11, Edgbaston
Start time 11.00 (1000GMT)

The Big Picture

Despite this series having been decided last week there have been plenty of talking points in the lead-up to the final Test at Edgbaston. Kevin Pietersen's retirement from limited-overs cricket (his choice for ODIs, forced for T20s) heads the list, followed by James Anderson being rested and, from West Indies' point of view, the call-up for Sunil Narine which puts him on the verge of an eagerly anticipated debut.

The series has provided some periods of hard-fought Test cricket but, ultimately, England have had too much depth for West Indies. They overwhelmed the visitors on the third evening in Nottingham with a six-wicket burst led by Tim Bresnan which left West Indies no way back. It raised questions about how far West Indies have really come and they do have a major issue with sustaining performances over five days. Yet their recovery was never going to be easy.

If the weather allows enough overs England will expect to complete a cleansweep but Andrew Strauss would like a more complete display. In both games the batting has not made the most of strong first-innings positions to really ram home an advantage. Better teams would not have allowed England off the hook.

All eyes will be on Pietersen - now purely a Test player - but, obviously, he has nothing to prove. That is not the case for Jonny Bairstow who has another opportunity to make life tough for the selectors ahead of the South Africa series. Ravi Bopara is back from injury and scoring runs for Essex so the challenge is Bairstow's to keep him at bay.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

England WWWLL
West Indies LLLDL

Watch out for

England's record against mystery spin is poor, you only have to go back to Saeed Ajmal earlier this year, so the prospect of them facing Sunil Narine for the first time is a fascinating one. Conditions will not be in Narine's favour, but the home side's batsmen will have to base their planning on video evidence. Narine's first-class average is an astonishing 11.88 (after six matches) and although that needs to include caveats about the quality of some of the opposition, his impact at ODI level suggests he will not be an easy prospect.

Steven Finn has made no secret of his frustration at waiting on the sidelines this season so it may be an idea to give him some space if Graham Onions beats him to replacing Anderson. Since losing his place during the 2010-11 Ashes series Finn has only made two further appearances both against Sri Lanka; at Lord's (when Anderson was injured) and in Colombo (when Broad was injured). If he does get another opportunity it could be another short stay in the team but there remains plenty of time for him to forge the long Test career fully expected of him.

Team news

There remains a chance England could rest Stuart Broad along with Anderson, but if that is not the case it becomes a straight decision between Finn and Onions for the bowling slot. Finn is the next man in line, but Onions' county form - where he has recently taken 11 in a match against Lancashire - makes a compelling case.

England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 Steven Finn

West Indies will need to ponder a few changes. Narine is favoured to replace Shane Shillingford (despite being Roach's replacement in the squad) while either Tino Best or Fidel Edwards will partner Ravi Rampaul. The top order will need a shuffle, too. Kirk Edwards, for his own well-being, needs to step away from the spotlight. Narsingh Deonarine is likely to bat No. 6.

West Indies (probable) 1 Adrian Barath, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Narsingh Deonarine, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Tino Best, 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Sunil Narine

Pitch and conditions

The forecast, sadly, is not good for large portions of the Test. Thursday appears especially dicey with heavy rain forecast (which also arrived to impact the practice days) so it could be a frustrating experience. Pitches at Edgbaston produce excellent Test cricket and if the cloud cover stays around the pace bowlers will find particular encouragement.

Stats and trivia

  • The two teams have met eight times at Edgbaston with West Indies winning four and England two. The last meeting was in 2004 when England won by 256 runs.

  • There will be two survivors from the 2004 match - Andrew Strauss and Shivnarine Chanderpaul - although James Anderson was also part of England's attack.

  • Strauss needs 87 runs to reach 7000 in Test cricket


"This was one of those occasions where an opportunity presented itself and we all think it's prudent that we take the opportunity with Jimmy and hopefully that will allow him to be fresh for the rest of the summer and beyond."
Andrew Strauss takes a familiar line when asked about Anderson's rest

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Satesh on June 7, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    @MrPontingToYou, wrong about Deonarine sir. he does have 7 centuries and 37 50's in first class and 3 50's in test. Narine really should have to wait since HE choose IPL instead of West Indies. How is that different from what Gayle and Bravo has done? Bringing Gayle and Dwayne Bravo is a much better move, Mystery or not. We NEED pick our best available for every game and yes that means Narine will be in but also Gayle and Dwayne Bravo. My team for this match taken everything into consideration 1 Gayle 2 Barath 3 Samuels 4 Deonarine 5 Chanderpaul 6 Dwayne Bravo 7 Sammy 8 Ramdin 9 Rampaul 10 Narine 11 Tino Best. How is it that Narine is considered and Gayle, Dwayne nor Taylor are not?? WI NEEDS to include Nash, Sarwan, Benn and Santokie in their immediate plans. Captaincy should be return to Sarwan or given to Jamaica's captain Tamar Lambert who has a first class ave of 31.24 with 2 centuries and 27 50's but more importantly has proven that he KNOWS how to lead a team to victories!!

  • Dummy4 on June 7, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    When was the last time West Indies won a test match or series in England? I can't remember. And from the looks of this team its not likely to happen soon again. I reckon the England management could have rested the whole squad including the coach for that matter. Maybe the ICC could make a ruling that the West Indies top order batsmen need to be out three times before they are actually given out - that might make them at least competitive.

  • anthony on June 7, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    @yorkshire pudding it was disgraceful bishoo has been dropped for shillingford in england. Shillingford is a 29 year old retread who should only have been picked for that test on his home island v aus where he took a bagfull of wickets. He was never going to come straight to england and do that. Narine is an obvious first pick, than bishoo for spinner. Ive said a long time ago Sammy at no 6 as this england tour apart the no 6 like deonarine have not covered themselves in glory. My test team ..Gayle,Sarwan,Bravo,Samuels,Chanderpaul,Sammy,Baugh,J Taylor,Narine,Roach, F Edwards with subs Bishoo,Barath,K edwards,Powell,Dwayne bravo, Russell, and any youngster who can step up.

  • Randolph on June 7, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    Very lucky for the United XI that it's raining. The Windies would've crushed them on this wicket.

  • John on June 7, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (June 06 2012, 20:59 PM GMT) Indeed. I know that one of the Sky pundits was talking about one of our bowlers bowling a heavy ball. Finn seems to have taken it literally

  • Dummy4 on June 7, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    England will win 3-0 and Sammy will be dropped

  • Ankit on June 7, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    i lyk narine and i dont lyk narine.narine bowls gud so i lyk him.but he chose to play in IPL so i dislyk him.He should have opted for tests and should have shown england their place in front of their home crowd... i think narine should also be treated lyk gayle for placing IPL over his national duties.... he really doesnt deserve a place in test team..

  • Simon on June 7, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    Rest broad as well, it isn't like he won't be playing the rest of the season. Finn looks sharp and Onions has been incredible in domestic cricket this season.

  • anthony on June 7, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    best or edwards must have the selectoes sleepless, considering they're both such 'fine' bowlers.. both would never even see the bench if they were around at any other stage in wi cricket. narine should play, as he looks like the real deal. might as well give fudadin a run, but they will proberbly pick deonarine. why? im not sure since he is NOT test class... the man cant even score a domestic century, dont mind a test one. until wi pick the right team, they should only play against zim, or b'desh, maybe even nz. the disillusiond wi fans will talk about how competitive they have been... thats only because chanders, and then samuels made runs to give that appearance. truth is they cant even take 20 wickets ion a match, which suggests their bowling is just as bad as their batting. but dont tell sammy that.

  • Jason on June 7, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    I'm looking forward to seeing Narine bowl and wish him luck, I've heard the hype, I just hope that it is better than the hype that Shillingford got from the WI's fans who claimed he was going to rip the England Batting order to shreads in the Trent Bridge test. Narine comes in with a big reputation, but Test Cricket is not like First class or ODI/T20 cricket and so theres no saying how well he will do, as test batsmen arnt in a hurry to play shots like they are in the limited overs form of the game so wicket taking chances are lowered.

  • No featured comments at the moment.