Mahmood to make England Test debut as Wood misses second clash with West Indies

By Sports Desk March 15, 2022

Saqib Mahmood will make his Test debut in England's only change for their second match against West Indies, starting on Wednesday at Kensington Oval.

The Lancashire seamer is a like-for-like replacement for the injured Mark Wood, who has been ruled out due to an elbow problem sustained in the first Test.

Joe Root's side played out a draw in that opening contest against Kraigg Brathwaite's hosts in Antigua and have moved on to Barbados for the second of three tussles for the Richards-Botham Trophy.

Centuries for captain Root, Jonny Bairstow and Zak Crawley were stymied by a superb display from Nkrumah Bonner and Wood's injury, on the back of Ollie Robinson being ruled out for the opener.

Root admitted that while Durham bowler Wood would be a loss, he had little doubts about 25-year-old Mahmood's potential.

"He's very mature for a guy who hasn't played a huge amount of international cricket, and he has an understanding of how he wants to operate," Root said.

"He's been very impressive. He's got a slightly different trajectory and will give us a point of difference. He has done that when he's played in other formats.

"Clearly he has good control, especially if the ball moves with reverse swing."

West Indies batsman Bonner, whose recent emergence as a Test player has followed a false start in international cricket in the T20I format 10 years ago, is relishing another battle after his man-of-the-match performance.

"During that 10-year period when I was out, there was a lot of work I put in mentally, physically and technically, and I'm really happy to be reaping the rewards now," Bonner said, quoted by BBC Sport.

"I'm more experienced now, I understand my game a lot better. I always had that belief I could play international cricket.

"Obviously sometimes the belief goes down a little bit, but I kept working and I'm really happy to have come back."

Stokes closes in on select England landmark

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been relatively quiet with bat and ball since returning to the international fold, but he could reach a notable landmark this week.

He needs 84 more to reach 5,000 runs in Test cricket for England; in doing so, he would become just the 23rd player to achieve this feat for the team.

West Indies are one of the three teams against whom he has scored over 1,000 runs.

Roach poised to move up WI rankings

Kemar Roach needs only one more wicket to become the outright seventh-highest wicket taker for West Indies in men's Test cricket.

Roach is level with Garry Sobers on 235 wickets, and the paceman has more wickets against England (54) than against any other team in this format.

Once he moves ahead, he will have sixth-placed Michael Holding in his sights, with 249.

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    From the original squad, left-handed batter Shimron Hetmyer is unavailable due to personal reasons; allrounder Keemo Paul is ruled out with an injury and left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie has failed to recover from the hand injury sustained during the CG United Series against India last month.

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    CWI’s Lead Selector, The Most Hon Dr. Desmond Haynes, said: “Hetmyer has to attend to a family matter in Guyana. Unfortunately, Motie is not yet able to rejoin the squad and Keemo is struggling with an injury. However, it provides an opportunity for Yannic Cariah to get a chance. He is someone that has been performing well on the regional circuit and we feel now is the right time to integrate him into the senior team set-up. Odean Smith has been added on the back of some notable performances in the T20I Series. He has displayed the all-round ability to change games and we look forward to his continued development.”

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    Fans can purchase their tickets at tickets.windiestickets.com or via www.windiescricket.com/tickets avoiding the need to queue or travel and to choose their preferred seat. The Windies Tickets service, presented by Mastercard, provides advance tickets for every West Indies home fixture, delivering tickets securely and directly to fans’ ticket accounts to store on their mobile devices or to print out for entry into to the stadium. The stadium venue box office, located along Fontabelle Road close to the Kensington Oval gates, is also open daily from 9am to 5pm for patrons to make in-person ticket purchase.

    For all matches, adults can purchase half price tickets for children under the age of 16 and seniors can also benefit from half price tickets as well. Fans in the West Indies can watch the CG United ODI Series exclusively live on ESPN Caribbean or listen to live radio commentary on the West Indies YouTube channel. Fans in New Zealand can watch exclusively live on Sky Sport.

     

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    New England skipper Stokes has enjoyed four consecutive victories in the long format since taking over leadership duties from Joe Root, with three coming against New Zealand and one against India.

    Now three Tests against South Africa await, with the first beginning at Lord's on Wednesday before further assignments at Old Trafford and The Oval.

    Proteas skipper Elgar told Wisden Cricket Monthly he did not see "longevity in brave cricket", suggesting England could easily have been left "with egg on their faces" against New Zealand.

    "Look, the opposition seem to be doing a lot of the talking about it at the moment," Stokes said on Tuesday.

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    England's approach has been nicknamed 'Bazball' because the lusty hitting of Jonny Bairstow has been so integral to the success. For each win in the current run, England have pulled off impressive fourth-innings chases, going almost gung-ho at times. Stokes and new head coach Brendon McCullum have encouraged the positivity.

    Stokes hopes the England team "hasn't lost its venom", given it has been six weeks since the last Test, with record wicket-taker James Anderson turning 40 in the meantime.

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    England chase four in a row against South Africa

    England have won each of their last three multi-game men's Test series against South Africa, so they will hope Stokes' strong start as leader continues over the coming weeks. Root made 190 and Moeen Ali took 10 wickets in the match when England crushed South Africa by 211 runs at Lord's in July 2017, ending a six-match winless run (D2, L4) in games against the Proteas at the London ground.

    Elgar looks to pace to pummel England

    South Africa are unbeaten in four series (W3, D1) since a 2-0 defeat to Pakistan in February last year, so they are not lacking in confidence. Elgar is prepared for moments of England dominance and says South Africa can ride that out.

    He said: "I know somewhere they're going to have periods in the game where they're going to be on top of us, no doubt, and we're going to have to find a way to adapt to that situation. I'd like to think from a bowling point of view, our bowlers are big, tall, fast and strong. We want it hard, we want it really tough, and hopefully the results go our way."

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