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May 25, 2009
Match factsTuesday May 26
Big PictureEngland's momentum shows no sign of slowing after their impressive six-wicket win at Bristol and now their aim is to wrap up the one-day series in style at Edgbaston before moving onto the ICC World Twenty20. What will be even more pleasing for the management was that England won convincingly without Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff.
The bowling was impressive throughout, led by James Anderson and Stuart Broad, with Paul Collingwood nipping in with three key wickets. Andrew Strauss had a superb day in the field, too, when he introduced Graeme Swann against a charging Chris Gayle and the move paid off when Gayle missed a wild swing.
As good as England were, though, West Indies were awful. Their shot selection was woeful, the running poor and the general application gave a further impression of a team that isn't bothered. The decision to rest Fidel Edwards was also strange on one of the quickest pitches of the season so far. If Gayle can turn on the style in Birmingham they could yet level the series, but don't bet on it.
Form guide (most recent first)
West Indies LALLW
Watch out for...
Graeme Swann is having a great time of things at the moment and has the wood over a number of West Indies batsmen. When his first ball at Bristol was planted over long-on by Gayle, Swann didn't panic and removed the West Indies captain next ball. Gayle is unlikely to hold back if faced with Swann again, so this duel could have a second chapter in the final game. Strauss certainly won't be afraid of throwing Swann the ball.
The one West Indies player who can hold their head high is Dwayne Bravo after he made an attractive half century and bowled with heart. But as hard as he tried he couldn't rouse his team-mates out of their slumber. Without a doubt, his return strengthens the team, but he needs much more support than was shown on Sunday.
Unless the England management want to have a look at Ryan Sidebottom and Ian Bell there seems little reason to change a winning side. This will be Strauss's last match as captain before the Ashes - he hands over the captaincy to Paul Collingwood for the World Twenty20.
England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Ravi Bopara, 3 Matt Prior (wk), 4 Owais Shah, 5 Paul Collingwood 6 Eoin Morgan, 7 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Tim Bresnan, 11 James Anderson
West Indies surely must look to make some changes. Lendl Simmons is struggling with his technique against the moving ball and they really need the strike power of Fidel Edwards. The sensible swap would be to open with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, but he appears reluctant for the role.
West Indies (probable) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Lendl Simmons, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Jerome Taylor, 10 Sulieman Benn, 10 Fidel Edwards
Pitch and conditionsEdgbaston pitches this season have been slow and low with little on offer for the bowlers, but international surfaces have always tended to offer more than those for domestic cricket. The forecast looks good with just a slim chance of a shower.
Stats and Trivia
"There's a really good feeling in the camp, and each time you win there's more depth to that feeling."
Andrew Strauss says the England dressing room is a good place to be at the moment
"We did not handle ourselves very well and we will have to put up a better fight. I still have confidence in the guys to go out there and pull out a victory."
Chris Gayle hasn't lost all hope…just yet
As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history
Hundred in a session? Easy peasy for Doug Walters