England have again put themselves in position to attack West Indies on the final day of a Test after belatedly bringing the hosts' first innings to a close in Barbados.

The tourists were frustrated on day five of the first Test in Antigua when the Windies preserved a draw with six wickets in hand.

But Joe Root's side will get a chance to put that right on Sunday after once more moving slowly in the right direction in the second match.

England closed on 40-0 on day four, 136 ahead and no doubt weighing up how long into the next session they should bat for before pursuing victory.

Root may have to take a risk, given this track has so far favoured the batsmen, with the hosts having resumed on 288-4 in reply to England's 507-9 declared.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite was unbeaten on 109 and continued to frustrate England despite the absence of the sort of long-term partner he had found in Jermaine Blackwood the previous day.

There were still 100-ball stands with Alzarri Joseph (19) and Joshua Da Silva (33) before Brathwaite finally departed to Jack Leach and the new ball for 160, leaving West Indies on 385-7.

That total reached 411 before England were able to bat again, with 15 overs yielding 40 runs for Alex Lees (18 not out) and Zak Crawley (21 no).

Brathwaite bats time

England's first-innings total meant the Windies were never likely to win this second Test. Instead, their aim with the bat was to drag their first innings out as long as possible.

Brathwaite could not have done much more on that front, his marathon stint in the middle using up an incredible 489 balls. He has only once faced more balls across both innings of a Test match, when scoring 126 and 85 against Sri Lanka last year.

Outlasted by Leach

Brathwaite's exhaustion could only be matched by the man who finally took his wicket, as Leach bowled 69.5 overs – again, his second-most in a Test after his 73.4 in the first meeting last week.

Despite those efforts, Leach produced the most economical bowling figures of his career, his 3-118 at a rate of 1.68 as he crucially accounted for three of the four West Indies batsmen to make 30 or more.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite hopes to see a more efficient performance from the bowling line-up as the team eyes pulling ahead of England when the three-match Test series resumes on Monday.

In the opening match, a total of 1,182 runs were scored over five days in a stern examination of bowlers from both teams.  Things did not start out that way, however, as the Windies took four wickets at the top of the first innings only for Jonny Bairstow to lead England’s recovery in the middle overs.

“I think we just have to be a bit more disciplined in the middle periods, probably a little tighter, under three runs an over, I think.  Creating that pressure will help to get more wickets in the middle overs,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Tuesday.

The West Indies will have fond recent memories of facing the English in Barbados having secured a massive 381 run win when the teams last met at the venue in 2019.  Brathwaite was quick to point out, however, that the team would not be preoccupied with history.

 “I think it’s history, to be honest, and we really have to look more to the future and be more disciplined.  I think we can draw from some things we did well, so of the players for sure, but I think we have to buckle down and start fresh.”

Cricket icons Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham unveiled the new Richards-Botham trophy which will be won by the victors in Test Series between West Indies and England Men’s Team.

The trophy pays tribute to two all-time greats – whose rivalry and friendship embodies the close relationship and mutual respect between the two sides. The unveiling ceremony was held on Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua ahead of the first Apex Test match which starts on Tuesday, March 8.

The sparkling new trophy symbolizes “Courage. Friendship. Respect” – values that represent the Test cricketing rivalry between West Indies and England, and of two legends who best define them – Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham.

It has an ultra-modern design and consists of an upside-down cup, based on a Georgian rummer, with the joining sphere a cricket ball. One end is a rummer for drinking rum and the other a wine/ale goblet. The rummer has palm fronds and the ale cup has willow leaves. The ceremonial idea is that the winning team holding the trophy would have the rummer that represents their team face upward while they held it and it would be ceremoniously turned over when the other team wins.

Test matches between these two rivals date back to 1928 when West Indies made their first trip to England. The teams, under the captaincy of Kraigg Brathwaite and Joe Root, will renew the rivalry with the Apex Test Series.

“It’s a truly special feeling to have the fantastic trophy named in honour of my great friend Ian and myself. We played a lot together and built a great friendship on and off the cricket field,” said Sir Vivian. “As I said earlier, I am truly delighted to know that the game that I have shown my love for all my life is naming such a prestigious award in recognition of what I managed to achieve. It’s a beautiful trophy and I want to again thank everyone who came up with this idea and contributed to its creation."

Botham said he was honoured to have a trophy in his name.

“It’s a great idea and a truly lovely trophy. It really stands out and I’m honoured to have my name on the trophy alongside my friend Sir Viv,” he said.

“The captain who picks up the trophy at the end of the upcoming series will be a happy man.”

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite said he was eager to get going on Tuesday in what he expects to be a closely contested series.

“We’re really excited and ready for the upcoming Apex Test Series against England. This is going to be an amazing three weeks of cricket,” Brathwaite said.

“It’s extra special too that we’re playing for the new Richards-Botham trophy, a fitting tribute to these two great men. We want to be the first team to get our hands on it and celebrate with our fans.”

England’s captain Joe Root believes the trophy named in honour of the two greats is a fitting tribute to the rivalry between the two teams.

“Test series between England and West Indies are iconic, and to have a trophy named after arguably the two most outstanding England and West Indies cricketers of all-time in Lord Ian Botham and Sir Vivian Richards is a fitting tribute for this great rivalry. We are enthused about the next month of competition, and we hope to make the England fans proud by lifting the Richards-Botham trophy,” he said.

The Apex Test Series will feature three Test matches. The first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the second Apex Test will be played at Kensington Oval, Barbados from March 16-20, with the climax in the third Apex Test at the Grenada National Stadium, Grenada on March 24-28

West Indies lead selector, Desmond Haynes, insists fixing the squad’s issues at the top of the order will be a priority for the new panel.

The team’s struggles, particularly at the top of the order, have been well documented in recent times.  The issue of finding a consistent partner for team captain Kraigg Brathwaite is one of the primary concerns.

Over the last five years, Brathwaite, who has scored 2188 in 40 matches during that time, has been consistent but it has proven to be somewhat of a carousel in terms of finding an opening pairing with Kieron Powell, John Campbell, and Shai Hope all being trailed for the spot at various times.

In November, Jeremy Solozano was also set to be trialed in the position, against Sri Lanka, but did not get the opportunity after being struck on the helmet while fielding.  Ahead of the England series, Haynes and the selectors have decided to turn back to Campbell who was dropped from the team in June of last year.

The batsman has had a strong start to the West Indies Championship after scoring 213 runs in two matches so far.  Since 2019, Campbell has played 15 matches for the West Indies scoring 640 runs.

“There was good discussion regarding the opening.  That in itself is something we want to resolve shortly.  I think in all the good teams you find they have good opening batsmen so we are hoping to get our opening batsmen some confidence and make sure they can do the job for us,” Haynes told members of the media on Tuesday.

“I think we went with Campbell not just because he got the 100 but talking to the captain and him batting with Campbell in the games that he has played, we had a bit of success there,” he added.

“It was a bit unfortunate for Jeremy but we decided we would put him in the president’s XI’s game where the selectors could have another look at him because it was a bit unfortunate because after being struck on the head he didn’t get a chance to play in Sri Lanka.  

Kraigg Brathwaite scored an unbeaten century and Raymon Reifer took six wickets to lead a Barbados Pride fightback against the Jamaica Scorpions on day two of their West Indies Championships match at Kensington Oval.

Sri Lanka are 46-2 at the end of the third day of the second Test against the West Indies at Galle on Wednesday, still three runs behind the visitors in a match that is delicately poised heading into Thursday’s fourth day.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has admitted it was a tough situation for debutant Jeremy Solozano who was forced out of the opening Test after sustaining an injury.

Solozano, who was expected to partner Brathwaite at the top of the order, had to be stretchered off on the first day of the opening Test after being hit flush on the helmet by a pull shot from Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne.

The young batsman was taken to the hospital for scans and remained overnight for observation, but the tests showed no further damage.  The player will, however, remain on concussion protocol for the next few days.  Solozano was replaced in the line-up by Shai Hope.

“It was a tough situation, but at least we heard he’s doing good, his scans came back good, and we’ll be supporting him 100 percent,” Brathwaite said.

As per CWI’s concussion policy, Solozano is expected to miss a minimum of seven (7) days. During this time, he will be monitored and evaluated before he can return.  The second match between the teams will take place between November 28 and December 3.

 

 

West Indies were in a world of trouble at the end of day two of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle on Monday. Chasing a target of 386, the West Indies slumped to 113-6 at stumps still 273 runs behind on a day that promised much but instead descended into disaster.

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite claims the team is eager to buck the trend of typically poor performances in Sri Lanka when the teams meet in Galle later this week.

Since 1994, the teams have played 10 series between them, with the West Indies winning two and Sri Lanka winning three.  The rest have ended in draws.  None of the West Indies wins have come in Sri Lanka.  In fact, the West Indies are yet to win a match in Sri Lanka and suffered a 2-0 loss on their last visit in 2016.

Brathwaite believes the current squad, who did experience some success on the continent in February with a win over Bangladesh, is capable of finally breaking this long-running trend.

“I was here in 2016, my first series here and we lost both matches.  As a youngster it didn’t feel good just coming into the team.  Now I’m looking forward to these games, I think we have a very good team,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Thursday.

“This team is ready to go, and we are ready to break the shackles and win some games in Sri Lanka this time around,” he added.

The West Indies face Sri Lanka in a two-Test series in the Caribbean earlier this year, which ended in a 0-0 draw.

 

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons and Captain Kraigg Brathwaite have both backed wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva to return to form during the upcoming two-Test series against Sri Lanka later this month.

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite is expecting a strong performance from the team’s pace bowlers in Sri Lanka, despite conditions on the subcontinent tending to favour spin bowlers.

The last time the regional team faced Sri Lanka away, in 2015, it was the part-time spin of Brathwaite that stole of as the batsman claimed six wickets in an innings.  The frontline pace bowlers Kemar Roach (2), Jason Holder (3), Shannon Gabriel (1) failed to have a huge impact on the series, with the exception of Jerome Taylor who claimed 6 over two games.

Although the captain admits the surface is likely to favour spinners, Brathwaite is confident the Windies quicks will have a big role to play.

We haven’t been there as yet to see the surface but there’s always a role for the fast bowlers.  Shannon Gabriel really led the way in Bangladesh in the first Test, bowling with some good pace, then Kemar Roach getting an early wicket in the morning was very crucial.  Obviously, Jason wasn’t there but is always crucial.  So, I do believe that possibly there being spin-friendly pitches, I think the pace bowlers will do well.

“I can see them getting wickets.  It’s really about building pressure but seamers are very important and obviously, Shannon will bring some aggression and I look forward to seeing the guys operating.”

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel today announced the West Indies squad for the Test Series in Sri Lanka.

The Selection Panel named one uncapped player in the 15-member squad – Jeremy Solozano, the left-handed opening batsman – following the two recent three-day Best v Best matches and training sessions at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.

Roger Harper, Lead Selector said: “The Best v Best matches provided the opportunity for the players to spend some time in the middle honing their skills for this tour. The aim was to simulate as much as possible, the conditions that the team will likely face in Sri Lanka, so it was good to see the batsmen spending time at the crease while putting some scores together and the bowlers looking to build pressure and create wicket-taking opportunities,” Harper said.

“Jeremy played for the West Indies ‘A’ Team in 2019 (against India ‘A’) with success and in the Best v Best matches he displayed a sense of application, patience, and composure while looking very comfortable against both pace and spin which encouraged the panel to invest in him at this point.”

Harper added: “The squad is well balanced, with good depth in all departments. The composition is very similar to the squad that brought us success in our last away tour to Bangladesh, with a few changes in personnel. There are a number of players who are familiar with Sri Lankan conditions and most of the others have good experience in the Indian sub-continent, so they know what to expect and are gearing themselves for it.”

Both Test matches will be played at the Galle International Stadium. West Indies will have a four-day warm-up match in Colombo from November 14 to 17. The Tests will follow on November 21 to 25 and November 29 to December 3.

The series is the second of six series, three at home and three away, that West Indies will play in the 2021-2023 ICC World Test Championship. Please see ICC World Test Championship table here: https://bit.ly/3EcJXpV

 FULL SQUAD

Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood (Vice-Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Jeremy Solozano, and Jomel Warrican.

Half-centuries from Shai Hope and Jeremy Solozano proved to be the foundation for Team Brathwaite’s first innings score of 280-4 at stumps on the first day of the second BestvBest match against Team Blackwood at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua on Monday.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who opened the batting with Solozano, also scored a half-century before he retired hurt after he and Solozano had taken Team Brathwaite to 98-0 at lunch. Brathwaite faced 118 balls and struck six fours and a six but did not return to the crease after lunch.

Solozano, who was on 34 at the interval, and Shamarh Brooks took the score to 120 when the latter was dismissed by Nial Smith for 11. Solozano eventually got out to the bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall for 74.

Hope, who had joined Solozano and the crease after Brooks’ dismissal, eventually retired on 71. Kyle Mayers scored 45 before he was dismissed by Jayden Seales for 45.

Joshua Da Silva (10) and Alzarri Joseph (0) are the batsmen at the crease at stumps.

Seales was the best of the bowlers with 2-28.

 

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel announced the squads for the upcoming Best v Best men’s red-ball matches.

The panel named 24 players for two three-day fixtures, which will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on October 27-29 and November 1-3. The two teams will be led by Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood.

The players will use these matches as preparations ahead of West Indies’ forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka for two Test matches following the ICC T20 World Cup. The team will depart from Antigua on November 6 and the tour will run until December 4. The full tour squad and schedule will be announced at a later date. The series is the second of six series, three at home and three away, that West Indies will play in the 2021-2023 ICC World Test Championship after drawing the first Betway Test Series against Pakistan in August.

 “These Best v Best matches are a critical part of the Test team’s preparation for the series in Sri Lanka. For a number of players, it will be the only serious red ball cricket they will have since the Betway Test series against Pakistan and prior to going on this tour. So, it helps to get them back into the groove of the red-ball format and gives the Selection Panel an indication of the players’ readiness for the tour,” said Lead Selector Roger Harper.

SQUAD A: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Shamarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Jayden Seales, Preston McSween, Nial Smith and Jeremy Solozano.

 SQUAD B: Jermaine Blackwood (Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Kavem Hodge, Alzarri Joseph, Imran Khan, Shayne Moseley, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach and Jomel Warrican.

Legendary West Indies wicketkeeper Jeffrey Dujon believes the Test team will be forced to continue its search for an opening batsman as the current selections have not produced a great many positive results to date.

Since the team's successful tour of Bangladesh in February three players, John Campbell, Shai Hope, and Kieran Powell have been paired at the top of the innings with West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite.

To date, the pairing with the Brathwaite has not bred much success.  Campbell has averaged 18.5 in eight innings, Powell 14.57 in seven innings, and Hope 15 in the one match played so far.  The results have often left the team well short of a solid start that has not been a feature of its play in recent times.

“I still think we need to find another opener, we are still looking for an opener and one more top-class batsman in the middle,” Dujon told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Right now we are not getting the results, we need good open partnerships and we have not been getting that,” he added.

Dujon believes that so far, the openers paired with Brathwaite have been plagued by shortcomings with playing the new ball.

“I just don’t get the feeling that he is playing down the right line, as an opening batsman playing a moving ball, I don’t think he gets down the wicket far enough,” he said of Powell.

Having only recently returned to the team, Hope has also been tried in the position.  While he certainly believes that Hope should have a spot in the team, Dujon is convinced it is not at the top of the innings.

“He’s a very good player but he is not an opener.  His style of play to open the batting in limited over cricket is fine.  He should be in this batting line-up but somewhere around four or so.”

 

 

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