West Indies vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite points to the second morning of the third and decisive Test against England as being crucial after a partnership between Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler wrested their early advantage on Friday at Old Trafford.

England are in a good position, having ended the day on 258-4, a far cry from the 122-4 they were in when Buttler came to the crease.

Before that, Kemar Roach had removed second-Test century-maker, Dom Sibley, for a duck, trapping him leg before wicket in the first over of the day.

Then came the run out of Joe Root for 17, Roston Chase clipping the bales.

Ben Stokes and opener Rory Burns tried to fashion a recovery before the latter was pushed back with some short deliveries before being bowled by Roach for 20.

The West Indies were looking good with England at 92-3, and when Burns was caught brilliantly at slip by Rahkeem Cornwall off the bowling of Roston Chase for 57, the West Indies were in great shape with two new batsmen and England teetering at 122-4.

But that’s where it ended as Pope, 91, and Buttler, 56, saw out the day in relative comfort, their partnership now worth 136.  

“I thought we started very well. Obviously Buttler and Pope had a good partnership, they batted well and so we know we have some hard work come tomorrow,” said Brathwaite in a press conference following stumps.

While Pope and Buttler have rescued England from a precarious position, Brathwaite does not believe the game has gotten away from the West Indies and tomorrow brings a fresh opportunity.

“We had a plan and obviously to bowl first but it’s been a pretty even day and obviously good from the two at the crease but I think tomorrow we have to start well and look to limit them to as few as possible,” said Brathwaite.

While tomorrow’s morning session is important, Brathwaite says the West Indies won’t panic and will stick to their plans and be patient.

“We have to start well and by that I mean we don’t have to rush wickets. I think if we build pressure by bowling a lot of dot balls and no boundary balls, that will create pressure to bring wickets. We don’t have to rush it in the morning session, I believe once we keep it tight, the tightness will bring wickets,” he said.

Ollie Pope believes a maiden century in England against West Indies will quell any doubts about his ability to play Test cricket.

Pope is nine short of three figures after the first day of the deciding Test at Old Trafford having steadied the ship alongside Jos Buttler (56 not out) in an unbroken 136-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

England will resume on Saturday on 258-4 with Pope seeking a second Test century in his 10th match, and his first on English soil.

The 22-year-old had scored 97 combined in his previous seven Tests against India and West Indies, and feels judgements on him in the longest format have been reached prematurely.

"It would be a massive achievement for myself," Pope said of making a century.

"So far, I think I've played four Test matches before this in England. I haven't scored the runs that I would like.

"People talk a little bit and I've seen some comments but it's not a massive sample size to take it from. I've played all my first-class cricket in England.

"I don't look into that stuff too much but to get over the line would be a nice feeling. Those nine runs, hopefully they will come at some point."

Pope was particularly pleased to return to his Old Trafford hotel room not having to ruminate on a failure with the bat.

Both teams have remained in the bubble throughout the series in Southampton and Manchester, meaning there has been nowhere for Pope to hide after difficult days out in the middle.

"It's a really nice feeling this evening," Pope, who had scored 43 in his four previous innings in the series, added.

"I've missed out in those first two games. We've not been able to get away.

"You are brought back to your hotel after you've got out in the last two overs of the day and you're looking at over the cricket ground, there's no real escape from it.

"You can't go out for dinner, can't go for a coffee, see your family, it isn't easy.

"You can naturally think about your batting, think about your failures a little bit more than normal. To get a few runs today, it is a nice feeling."

Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler made unbeaten half-centuries to give England the edge on day one of the decisive third Test against West Indies at Old Trafford.

Former West Indies opener Wavell Hinds is the new president of the 141-year-old Kensington Cricket Club. Hinds, the president and CEO of the West Indies Players Association was the sole nominee for the post as outgoing president Dave Cameron did not seek re-election.

Hinds was subsequently approved unanimously during the cricket club’s annual general meeting and election exercise at the clubhouse on Thursday, July 23.

Hinds, in his brief remarks following his elevation, urged the members of the club to “protect the assets of the newly upgraded facility.” He also wanted to the club to “continue with its development programs from under 15 all the way to senior”, adding that the club must maintain its core values of integrity, respect and rich in spirit, talent and love.

Hinds also invited with the support of the membership gathered, to appoint Cameron, President Emeritus, which allows him to be a part of the new executive.

Cameron served in the role of president since 2001 and has been a member of the club for just about four decades. In his remarks, he thanked the community, membership and the partners of the club for their support. He succeeded the late Vincent Wong and Noel Silvera.

Cameron is firm in his belief that Kensington can be transformed into a “modern-day sporting organization with a great business partnership aimed at creating world-class players.”

Meanwhile, Hins’ executive that will include  Radcliffe Daley – 1st Vice President;  David Bernard Jr – 2nd Vice President;  Carole Beckford – Secretary;  Guatam Kumaraswamy – Treasurer;   Wayne Lewis – Assistant Secretary;  Marlon Kennedy – Assistant Treasurer;  and Brian Blair – Club Captain.

 Lorna Litchmore, Raymond Smith, Delbert Gayle, Jamie Hay and Ryan Francis will serve as executive members.

During the last three years, the club won three major trophies and are the defending Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) T20 champions. In the incomplete, senior cup competition, the team played four matches this season that was cut short because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

England lost Dom Sibley in the first over and captain Joe Root near the end of the morning and are now 131-4 at Tea on the first day of the deciding Test against the West Indies at Old Trafford on Friday.

It was an encouraging start for the tourists, especially with England being one specialist batsman light for the match after choosing to select four fast bowlers as well as a spinner. That meant star allrounder Ben Stokes moved up the order to No. 4.

Stokes was already in the middle by lunch, but brilliant bowling from Kemar Roach just after had him bowled for 20.

After the Windies won the toss under overcast skies, Kemar Roach trapped Sibley lbw off the sixth ball of the innings from a ball that didn't deviate. Sibley, a century-maker in the second Test won by England, didn't get off the mark this time after playing across the delivery and was so plumb he didn't bother reviewing.

Root played circumspectly for his 17 off 59 balls and was looking set when he tried to pinch a single after Burns steered recalled spinner Rahkeem Cornwall down to third man. Roston Chase threw to the wicketkeeper's end and clipped the outside of the stump, one bail popping up with Root short of the crease.

West Indies paceman Shannon Gabriel started for the third straight match this series and spent some time off the field with an apparent hamstring strain after pulling up during his fourth over. He returned, though, to the relief of captain Jason Holder and was back bowling before lunch.

The not out batsmen are Ollie Pope on 24, and Jos Buttler on three.

The series is tied at 1-1 and the Windies, who won the first test in Southampton, are looking to capture a test series in England for the first time since 1988.

England recalled pacemen Jofra Archer and James Anderson in place of Sam Curran and top-order batsman Zak Crawley, leading to that restructuring of the batting order.

Stokes is struggling for full fitness and is unlikely to bowl, so will be a specialist batsman for this Test.

The West Indies made one change, bringing in Cornwall for Alzarri Joseph.

Joe Root recalled Jofra Archer and James Anderson to an England team a batsman light due to Ben Stokes' injury concerns.

England face West Indies in the third and final Test at Old Trafford on Friday needing to win to regain the Wisden Trophy.

As for the second match, Root has altered his attack, although Mark Wood again misses out.

Archer - unable to play last time out after breaching biosecurity protocols - and Anderson are back, meaning Sam Curran makes way.

But with Stokes managing an injury, number three Zak Crawley has also dropped out to get the extra bowler in, seeing the rest of the order shift up.

That batting order was swiftly tested after Windies captain Jason Holder won the toss and, as in the previous match, opted to bowl first.

"We've balanced the side out as best we can and I actually feel like we've got a very good, well balanced team. I'm not worried about that at all," Root said, before quickly finding himself in the middle when Kemar Roach dismissed Dom Sibley lbw for a duck in the first over.

Of Archer's return, the captain added: "Jofra's ready to play. Over the last couple of days, he's got his smile back and bowled with real pace in the nets.

"He knows he's got the full support of the dressing room and the guys around him. We're really looking forward to him getting back out there and showing everyone how talented he is."

On the possibilty of Stokes bowling, Root said: "We'll have to see how things go. We can monitor that as the game progresses. But we have to make sure we look after him as best as possible."

Stokes - now the ICC's top-ranked all-rounder - revealed he had "been better" and was still unsure of the nature of the injury.

He said: "It's going to be a day by day thing. I was a little bit worried I wouldn't be able to offer everything I could with the ball, especially in the first innings."

The Windies have also made a change, meanwhile, bringing in spinner Rahkeem Cornwall for Alzarri Joseph in a match they need only to draw to retain the trophy.

Rain is forecast on four days in Manchester.

Talented all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall should shed the excess pounds if he wishes to realize his full potential as a member of a successful West Indies unit.

Now, hold on to your collective horses. Before I get accused of being unfair or picking on the player, or any of the other excuses those willing to bury their heads in the proverbial sand may concoct, as is truly typical of the modern victimhood culture, I must make clear that I have tremendous belief in Cornwall’s potential and ability. 

Regionally, he has routinely performed at a very high level.  He has proven his ability to take wickets for the A-team and had a splendid Test debut for the West Indies against India.  In the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Cornwall has flayed many opposition bowling attacks.  There should be no doubt that if he continues to work at his game, he can become a quality all-rounder and a dependable weapon for West Indies.  For the sport of cricket, his considerable weight, which in all likelihood kept him from being selected sooner, is an obstacle he must overcome.

The aim of the majority of professional athletes is often to maximize their physical capability.  Surely Cornwall is functional, but anyone who can honestly claim they believe the athlete is performing at his peak needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and consider whether they really mean him any good.  He is good now, but at his best, he could be great. We should therefore never hinder personal improvement by stifling objective analysis. 

While the team’s coach Phil Simmons recently claimed the player’s, weight was not an issue, one does not have to go far to think of instances where it could be.  What about instances in the game where quick singles are required?  His inability to do so is clearly a tactic that can and has been used against the player to the detriment of both himself and the team.  Anyone who has watched the CPL will have seen teams decide that it is the best way to attack the destructive batsman. 

In a memorable 2017 CPL encounter between the St Lucia Stars and Barbados Trident, current One Day International (ODI) captain Kieron Pollard was incensed at the player’s decision to quit after making a blistering 78 from 44.  Cornwall seemed gassed after being earlier hit by a Pollard delivery, but his opponent clearly believed that being in poor physical shape played a factor in his not being able to go on and make a 100.

Why would anyone be encouraged to work on weaknesses in their game and not have prime physical fitness on the list? 

It would be an interesting explanation as to why so little progress has been made after Cricket West Indies promised to put the all-rounder on a special programme, which included a dietician, over three years ago. 

Additionally, with the team’s renewed focus on fitness, which saw them implement the famed Yoyo Fitness Endurance programme that has a minimum score of 40, it would be interesting to discover why Cornwall has been given a pass when other players have been dropped for not making the fitness grade. If the player cannot lose weight due to a medical exemption, one wonders how it cannot be a risk to play competitive cricket.

At 27 years old the player should be at or close to his physical peak, it is surely an indictment to not encourage him to put in the work required to get to the very top of his game.

 

England and the West Indies will compete for a new Richards-Botham Trophy when they next meet in a Men’s Test series to pay tribute to two of their greatest players whose rivalry and friendship embodies the close relationship and mutual respect between the two sides.

The third Test of the #RaiseTheBat Series, which starts at Emirates Old Trafford on Friday will be the last time the two sides compete for the Wisden Trophy, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket West Indies (CWI) have announced.

In its place, the new Richards-Botham Trophy will now be designed ready for when the teams next meet in a Test series.

The title honours Sir Vivian Richards, one of cricket’s greatest batsmen, who scored more than 8,500 runs in a 121-Test career, and Sir Ian Botham, the legendary all-rounder who scored more than 5,000 runs and took 383 wickets in 102 Tests.

Fierce competitors on the pitch, the pair developed a great friendship off it, which still endures, and the new trophy is a fitting way to celebrate the warm relationship between the nations and to honour the gladiatorial spirit of contests past and present.

The Wisden Trophy, first introduced in 1963 to commemorate the hundredth edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, will now be retired and will be displayed at the MCC Museum at Lord’s where it has traditionally been kept.

“This is a huge honour for my good friend Ian and myself. I am delighted to know that the game that I have shown my love for since a little boy is naming such a prestigious award in my recognition of what I managed to achieve as a cricketer. When I had the opportunity to go to England and represent Somerset, one of the first persons I met was Ian Botham, who would later become of one my best friends. We are friends for life,” Sir Vivian said.

“To have this trophy – West Indies vs England – named in honour of our work on the cricket field is great. What I think is also remarkable is that it says a lot about our relationship off the field as well. We were competitors on the field, but we showed we were brothers off the field. I’m proud to have my name on one side of the trophy with him on the other side.”

Sir Ian Botham was in agreement with the Master Blaster’s sentiments.

“Viv was the finest batsman I ever played against. He’s a great friend but we’ve always been competitive, not least when we were on the cricket field, and there was no one else’s wicket I would treasure more,” Botham said.

“Playing the West Indies was always one of the toughest tests in cricket, and it’s an honour for this trophy to bear our names. I hope future series will be just as exciting as the one we’ve all been enjoying this summer.”

Sir Vivian averaged 62.36 against England across his career with eight hundreds. He dominated the 1976 series between the two sides, scoring 829 runs at an average of 118.42 in the series, which West Indies won 3-0. This included 232 in the first Test and 291 in the fifth. He also made what at the time was the fastest Test hundred in the game against England in 1986, taking just 56 balls to reach his century. It is still the equal second fastest of all time.

 

Facing the best team in the world at the time, Sir Ian took 61 wickets at an average of 35 against the West Indies, with three five-wicket hauls and a best of 8-103 at Lord’s. He also scored four 50s, with a best of 81 in the same game at Lord’s in 1984.

“England and the West Indies have produced many magic cricketing moments over the years, and this series has been no different even though it’s been played in very different circumstances. We remain very grateful for West Indies travelling here to play this series, and it’s fitting that we’ve got such an exciting final test in store as the teams compete for the Wisden Trophy for the final time,” said ECB Chairman Colin Graves.

“The Wisden Trophy was introduced nearly 60 years ago to mark the 100th edition of the Almanack, and we’ve been extremely proud to contest it since then. Both we and Cricket West Indies felt that the time was right to honour two of our greatest modern players. Sir Vivian and Sir Ian were fierce competitors on the pitch but great friends off it, exemplifying the spirit of the contests between our two cricketing nations and providing perfect inspiration for those who compete for the Richards-Botham Trophy in years to come.”

CWI President Ricky Skerritt said both men were deserving of the honour.

“Sir Viv’s phenomenal West Indies track record against England, both as a player and captain, and his longstanding friendship with his former Somerset teammate and England rival, Sir Ian Botham, presented an excellent opportunity to honour two uniquely suited living legends,” Skerritt said.

“Both honorees put their heart into the game, and always gave their all for their teams and countries. There are other West Indian cricket legends whose names could also have been chosen for this honour, but none more deserving than Sir Viv.”

West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick said the West Indies have an opportunity to create history when they take on England in the third and final Test of the #Raisethebat series in Old Trafford tomorrow.

It’s been a long time since the West Indies has had consistently good results in Test cricket. In fact, since the Caribbean men gave up the Frank Worrell Trophy to Australia in 1995, we have only won 22 Test series. Twelve of those wins were against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, teams which do not represent the best this game has to offer.

Most of our joy, as West Indies cricket supporters in the recent past, has come from our advent in the world of T20 cricket. We have won 56 of 124 matches, of which 5 were no results. It’s a record which betters our Test match results despite the fact we only have a 45 per cent win record.

However, within that win record, we have beaten the best on the planet to capture two world titles. But because of inconsistency, we are ranked ninth in world T20 cricket.

So yes, as supporters, we have been living off scraps.

And that’s simply because West Indies doesn’t know what it’s like playing as a team anymore, which is fundamental when trying to be the best in Test Cricket.

We, in the media (and I have been guilty of this at times), try to shape a narrative which leans to the dramatic when trying to tell a story. So we may say stuff like; “the match was lost at the toss”, in the aftermath of a team’s failure to overcome.

No match is ever lost at the toss.

Or we may say “the turning point in the game was when he was dropped”. Again, this is just used as poetic license. More often than not, we miss minor shifts in the game, and we fail to take into account innocuous happenings on the field of play which may determine a wicket or even an extra run.

And Test cricket takes into account these minor shifts.

The reason why the West Indies team is so poor, especially in Test cricket is that we rely too much on individual performances.

We tend to get away with it, the shorter the game of cricket becomes because any one of our talented boys can win a match by sheer skill and will for a short period of time.

Ask any of our batsmen to bat an entire two-hour session to make just 25 runs, and save a Test match in the hot Sharjah sun, or in the cold Old Trafford breeze, and they struggle mentally and otherwise to do so.

However, if you ask the same batsmen to hit 4 sixes in an over to win a T20 World Cup, we actually stand a better chance of doing so. And we would remember their name for a long time to come.

In the midst of sustained pressure, this West Indies team flops. This doesn’t mean they are not a talented bunch of youngsters. The fact our captain Jason Holder is now the number two allrounder in the world speaks to his skill and hard work. However, he alone cannot win a Test match.

Test cricket is all about how a team performs. If last-man-standing, Courtney Walsh didn’t survive five deliveries on a cool Tuesday afternoon at the Kensington Oval in March of 1999, no one would be heralding Brian Lara’s 153 not out against Australia as one of the greatest Test innings of all time.

Grit and fight are needed to make a formidable Test cricket team. These are the attributes which were the hallmark of their current coach Phil Simmons when he was playing. And this West Indies team lacks it. That cannot be taught. However, it can be harnessed through adversity. The fact that these West Indian boys were able to reach so far in their careers shows they worked sufficiently enough to be the crème de la crème of the region. They now just need to learn how to lean on each other.

So even when a catch is dropped, they won’t be thinking that the course of a Test match is irrevocably changed against them. But they will go again.

Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Joe Root admits it will be a major test of his captaincy to rein in Ben Stokes and ensure England do not place too great a burden on their talisman.

England are toying with deploying Stokes as a specialist batsman and taking bowling responsibilities off the Durham all-rounder for the series decider against West Indies.

The third Test gets under way on Friday at Old Trafford, the same venue where Stokes' brilliance paved the way for England's 113-run victory in the second match of the series.

Stokes is carrying a niggle that England would hate to become anything more serious, but Root knows just how difficult it will be to prise away any responsibility from the 29-year-old, who scored 254 runs in the previous contest and took three wickets.

"He wants to affect the game. That's the beauty of him," Root said. "He's desperate to be the man to turn things around and to win you the game."

Stokes has the ability to decide matches with bat or ball, but England have a lot of cricket to come in the weeks and months ahead, which is why Root is determined to at least not over-stretch him.

"There were a few occasions where I did check in with him first and second innings [in the second Test] and I said 'I think that’s enough' and he wanted one more [over]," Root said.

"He has matured as a player now and you sometimes have to put trust in a player to tell you when enough's enough.

"I feel like he's in a place where he can do that. That's the sort of commitment that you want to see from senior players and it feeds down into the rest of the group.

"He's definitely okay to play as a batsman. It's just how much of an impact he can have with the ball.

"We want to make sure we get the best out of Ben and I'm sure he wants to ride a wave.

"And it must be quite difficult when you're playing as well as he is to maybe have to rein it back in now and again. It is important that he's looked after."

Should Stokes let others take the bowling strain, it will mean England either going in with one fewer bowling option, or sacrificing a batsman to bring in another seamer.

They have abundant options, with Jofra Archer, James Anderson and Mark Wood vying for places with the pace attack from the second Test: Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran.

Root knows he cannot pick all six, and culling players could be particularly tough, given how close the skipper is to some members of the squad.

"It shouldn't come down to them being your mate or not," Root said. "If guys are upset and annoyed about it, that shows that they care and if they're annoyed with me for a few days then I have to deal with that."

Archer's inclusion in the 14-man squad reflects an eagerness to get back on the field, having been sidelined for the second Test after breaching strict protocol rules between the first Test in Southampton and England's current residency in Manchester by briefly returning to his Hove flat.

Root condemned as "disgusting" the social media abuse that Archer has faced recently, and stressed the Sussex quick has his full backing.

"I've had some good conversations with Jofra. It is important he's in a mentally good enough place to play the game," Root said. "We're all here to support him. I'm very excited to see him smiling and enjoying his cricket."

While understandable attention surrounds Archer, it could yet come down to the tried and tested partnership of Anderson and Broad opening the bowling for England.

"It's exciting to know there's pretty much 1,000 wickets between them and they could be leading the attack," Root said. "They're two of our best cricketers of all time and I feel they've got a lot left in both of them."

West Indies bowling coach, Roddy Estwick, believes the team’s captain Jason Holder often carries a heavier workload than England opposite number Ben Stokes and that should be considered when comparisons between the two are made.

The comparison between the all-rounders, ranked one and two in the world, has come to the fore as they go head-to-head in the ongoing Test series.  Despite a strong performance from Holder, who claimed seven wickets in a win for the West Indies in the first Test, it is Stokes who has had the edge. 

In the second Test, the England utility player scored a blistering 176 in the first innings, and 78 in the second, to play a crucial role in a big series-leveling win for England.  In addition, Stokes claimed six wickets in the first Test, combined with innings of 43 and 46.  For the series so far, Stokes has scored a total of 343 runs, claiming 9 wickets.  Holder has claimed 8 wickets and scored 56 runs.  It was the West Indian who started the series as the number one ranked all-rounder in the world but he has now been bumped into two by the Englishman.  According to Estwick, however, in addition to having more responsibility as a bowler, Holder also has to focus on duties as a captain.

"Jason is a big player for us.  He made a double hundred back in the Caribbean, he just needs people around him.  Jason knows that once he can find partnerships and find some kind of rhythm he can be just as disruptive as Ben Stokes," Estwick told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

"Also, remember the workload that Jason puts in as a bowler, Ben doesn’t put in.  Ben will go through 15 overs a day, Jason will probably go through 20, 25 and then he is captain as well.  So, mentally it not as easy as people think it is because he is one of our number one bowlers and we depend on him for his bowling as well.  Ben will bowl a lot less so he can bat a little higher than Jason has.”

In total, Holder has bowled 78 overs in the Test match so far, compared to Stokes’ 51.2.  Holder has registered among the team’s top three bowlers in deliveries so far this series, while Stokes is closer to the bottom.

West Indies captain Jason Holder has full confidence in Shai Hope to turn his form around ahead of the deciding Test with England.

The Windies, having won the first Test at the Rose Bowl, slumped to a 113-run defeat in the second at Old Trafford.

Holder's men will attempt to retain the Wisden Trophy and secure a series win in England for the first time since 1988 with victory in the third encounter, which starts on Friday at the same venue.

It was another disappointing performance from Hope, who scored 25 in the first innings and was dismissed for just seven in the second.

Since scoring a hundred in each innings in a Windies win over England at Headingley in 2017, Hope has scored 899 runs at an average of just 24.29.

However, Holder is backing Hope to rediscover his best form in the longest format and impress as he does in ODI cricket, in which he is ranked as the 13th-best batsman in the world.

Holder told a media conference: "All our players have got my full backing, they know how I personally feel.

"Yes some of them haven't got the runs they would like but more or less it's just giving them our full support.

"I'm 100 per cent behind Shai, we all know what Shai can produce, he's done it before at this level of Test cricket, he's arguably one of the best one-day batsmen in the world and we know the calibre of player he can be.

"I've got full confidence in Shai to get some runs, he's gotten starts so far in this series so he's not far from converting a start into something really special for us. He's got my full support."

Spinner Rahkeem Cornwall could come into the side on a pitch that offered plenty of help to spin-bowling all-rounder Roston Chase in the second Test to aid an attack dealing with a second successive four-day turnaround.

"In terms of the workload and the management of our players everybody's held up really well," Holder added. 

"We've been doing this for a number of years now, the nucleus hasn't really changed significantly, these guys have backed up Test matches before, yes the turnaround in this one has been a lot shorter than normal, but these guys have done it before. I'm not too worried about the workload when it comes to these players.

"If he [Cornwall] does come in he's a wicket-taker, and he's proven to be a match-winner, not only at regional level but in his last [two] Test matches he played he got 13 wickets so I think he's a quality spinner, no doubt to me he would be the best spinner on show in this series.

"He's always a wicket-taking option for us but not only a wicket-taking option, brings a bit more slip catching, he can bat and he brings a lot of control."

Any possibility of South Africa playing in the West Indies later this year will largely be dependent on the IPL and the lifting of travel restrictions that will allow the team to travel to the Caribbean.

Ben Stokes could be forced out of England's bowling plans for the third Test against West Indies but Jofra Archer is delivering the ball "at the speed of light".

That was the verdict of captain Joe Root on Thursday as he readied the home team for the series decider at Old Trafford.

Talisman Stokes bowled 27.4 overs across two innings in the second Test, picking up three valuable wickets, as well as making 176 and 78 not out with the bat.

But England are determined to protect their star all-rounder and that may means he is selected as a specialist batsman on Friday morning.

"We'll have to be really clear on where Ben's at - he's still feeling it a little bit on his quad, so we're making sure he's fit to bowl and if not that might change how we go with things slightly," Root said.

"He pretty much spent the whole time on the field [in the second Test]. It was a long old game for him, but it does take a lot to keep him down and to take him out of the action.

"We'll see how he is in the morning and if you look at the squad of players we've got, we've got plenty of brilliant options.

"I feel like whatever combination we decide to go with will definitely be worthy of taking 20 wickets."

Quicks Jofra Archer, James Anderson and Mark Wood come back into the picture for the third Test, providing competition for Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad and Sam Curran in a 14-man squad.

Root explained Archer is raring to go and said the recent online racist abuse suffered by the Sussex paceman had been "disgusting".

Archer, who missed the second Test after breaching strict protocols on the team's bio-secure environment, said in a newspaper column he reported the racist abuse to the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Root said: "He's got his smile back. He's been bowling at the speed of light.

"It was disgusting to see some of the stuff he's had to put up with over the last week. As a squad we've tried to get round him and let him know we're all there for him.

"No-one should have to go through anything like that. There's no other word other than disgusting really."

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