James Anderson and Mark Wood have been rested by England for the second Test against West Indies, while Joe Denly has been dropped. 

The pacemen were part of the side that lost the series opener in Southampton last week but will not feature at Old Trafford, Anderson missing out on playing at his home ground.

With Anderson and Wood left out, Stuart Broad - a surprising omission from the line-up last week - looks set to earn a recall.

England have drafted left-armer Sam Curran and uncapped Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson into a 13-man squad as they strive to keep the series alive.

Another change sees captain Joe Root, who missed the opening Test due to the birth of his second child, return in place of batsman Denly.

Zak Crawley will move up a place in the order to bat at number three, with Root slotting back it at four.

England were unable to train outdoors on Wednesday due to bad weather, though Root has had a chance to look at the wicket as his side bid to level the three-match series. 

"I had a quick look yesterday – it has been under covers for the large part of yesterday evening and all of today," he told the media. 

"It looked like a good wicket and I’m expecting it to be just that really. Hopefully there is an opportunity for batters to go out there and make big scores, go on and convert some starts if we get in. With that, you want to see a bit of carry and bounce."

Meanwhile, Saqib Mahmood has left the Test party and will join up with England's white-ball training group on Thursday ahead of the home series against Ireland.

Jos Buttler has received the backing of returning England captain Joe Root, who is confident his team-mate can transfer his white-ball batting talents to Test cricket.

Wicketkeeper Buttler averages 31.46 in the longest format but has failed to get beyond 47 in his last 12 innings, a worrying slump in form that has seen his place in the team come into question, with Ben Foakes waiting in the wings.

The right-hander made scores of 35 and nine during the first Test against West Indies last week, with his second-innings dismissal coming during a collapse that swayed the game in the touring side's favour.

England lost at Southampton by four wickets but the under-pressure Buttler is set to keep his place for the game in Manchester, which begins on Thursday.

Returning skipper Root, who missed the series opener due to the birth of his second child, has seen technical improvements in Buttler's game to suggest a big score is just around the corner.

"I think you look at Jos and the game last week - and a I know we're in a results business and we're judged on performances - but you watch how he batted in that first innings and I thought, technically, it was as well as he's played in a long time," Root told the media on the eve of the second Test.

"His game is in a really good place, it's just a matter of time until we see some of those special innings that we've seen in white-ball cricket and his performances from that transfer across.

"He's someone that is a big part of our group – has been for a long time – and is a great thinker about the game. He's a big senior player in the dressing room across all formats.

"You feel he's not far away from grabbing Test cricket, taking it and running with it. I've seen big strides off the field with his technical game, I suppose you almost want him to find that balance and mindset he has in white-ball cricket and add it to a technique that can definitely thrive in red-ball cricket."

Root was a keen spectator back home as the action unfolded in Southampton, where all-rounder Ben Stokes took charge of the team for the first time.

The Yorkshireman admits it was not easy watching on afar when fully fit, though he saw enough from his players to suggest there are positive signs for the future, despite the result.

"It was challenging, more so because you're fully fit and could be out there, it's just a very strange set of circumstances," Root said.

"Ben as captain did a brilliant job. He had some very difficult decisions to handle and manage, and I think on the ground and throughout the game he managed things very well.

"One thing that I was really pleased with, actually, is the performance for the first two and a half days we were probably behind the game, but we managed to find a way of wrestling ourselves into a position where we could win it.

"In the past, sometimes we've fallen away a bit early, but going into those last two sessions we still had a chance at winning the game.

"In a way it was a small step forwards for us, though of course we couldn't quite get across the line.

"You look at the back-end of our second innings and that really did hurt us, but I think there were a lot of positive things to take from it. You could certainly see that, sat watching from home."

England have confirmed Root will come into the XI in a place of Joe Denly, while James Anderson and Mark Wood are both rested.

West Indies captain Jason Holder has insisted the team is determined to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground, despite the historic opportunity of winning its first Test series, in England, since 1988, looming on the horizon.

The Windies recorded a four-wicket win over England in the first Test, in Southampton, to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series last week.  Should they be able to muster an identical result at the end of the second Test, in Manchester, Holder’s team will not just successfully retain the Wisden Trophy but do something no West Indian team has done in 32 years.

The captain, who has been quick to put down references to the team as the best in a generation, was just as quick to dismiss any hints of premature adulation or celebration.

“The series is still wide open.  There are 10 days of cricket left.  It’s one day at a time for us, England is a very good cricket team.  They have some world-class players, so we have our work cut out for us to win another match,” Holder told members of the media via a Zoom conference call on Wednesday.

“We don’t get too far ahead of ourselves.  This group to me has done just a good job not only for this series but in the last couple of years in terms of our results,” he added.

“Winning the first Test match is just one piece of the puzzle.  We have two other games we have to play, and we don’t get ahead of ourselves.  It’s the last thing we want to do in terms of getting complacent and getting too far ahead.  We start fresh with 10 solid days of cricket.”

England captain Joe Root has confirmed he will take Joe Denly's place in the side for the second Test against West Indies.

Root missed the first Test at the Rose Bowl – which the Windies won by four wickets – due to the birth of his second child.

However, the skipper has returned for the second Test, which starts at Old Trafford on Thursday, with the tourists aiming to secure their first series win in England since 1988 in the longest format.

Denly makes way, with the 34-year-old batsman having made 18 and 29 behind closed doors in Southampton.

With Root coming in at number four, Zak Crawley will move up to bat at three – the 22-year-old keeping his place in the side on the back of an impressive 76 in the second innings last week.

England have not confirmed the rest of the team, with Stuart Broad vying to be included after the experienced paceman was left out for the first Test.

Phil Simmons has warned West Indies not to become complacent as they go in search of a long-awaited Test series triumph in England. 

The Windies were victorious by four wickets on the final day of a gripping first Test behind closed doors in Southampton. 

You have to go back to 1988 for the last time West Indies won a series on English soil in the longest format, but they have two opportunities to put that right at Old Trafford. 

Head coach Simmons says his players must focus on the job in hand when the second Test gets under way in Manchester, where Joe Root will return to captain England on Thursday. 

Simmons said: "For me it was a great win [in the first Test] because I think that it signified a lot of hard work being done by the players over the last four or five weeks. 

"But you don't come to England and just win a Test match. It was a top-class Test match, with good cricket played by both teams, and even coming down to the last hour, it could have gone either way. 

"To come out on top, it’s been great for us, and it was important because you don't want to have to chase England in England. So the chasing is from their point of view now. 

"But you guard against complacency by just trying to do the same things you did before the first Test. Right now, that Test match is history. We've got to be thinking about what we do from Thursday to Monday." 

Simmons thinks West Indies' preparation in the bio-secure bubble of Old Trafford paid off in the first Test. 

He added: "I think that has been the biggest influence on the performance. I think the fact that we've been here for that period of time, we've had quality bowling in the nets because we've had nearly 11 seamers here, you can't put a price on that. 

"I think that's something that we have to look at. I don't like to go back into my [playing] days, but we would come to England and play something like three or four proper warm-up games before the first Test, and we would also have three-day or four-day games in between the Test matches. 

"So I think that period of training goes a long way to how we performed in that first Test." 

At the prompting of former Jamaica and West Indies batsman Lawrence Rowe, West Indies Captain Jason Holder has revealed that he intends to move higher up the Caribbean side’s batting order in the near future.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons was quick to dismiss any suggestions that England underestimated the team heading into the first Test last week.

On the back of a responsible 95 from Windies batsman Jermaine Blackwood, and a 9-wicket haul from pace bowler Shannon Gabriel, the regional team claimed a 1-0 lead after a 4-wicket win in Southampton, on Sunday.  With the omission of veteran fast bowler Stuart Broad from the first Test, however, former England captain Nasser Hussain suggested the hosts may have underestimated the West Indies.  England instead, opted for a line-up that included Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and James Anderson.

 "Hats off to West Indies for a super performance, but I'd like to ask England one question. If this had been the first game of the Ashes, would they have left out Stuart Broad?" Hussain asked in his post-match analysis.

Simmons has, however, refuted any suggestions of underestimation.

“I don’t think so.  England is a professional unit and I would not expect that from them. I think they thought on the day they needed to bat first.  Maybe they looked at how the match would end, the wicket and how dry it was at the time,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

“There are many factors why they could have batted first. I don’t want to speculate but I don’t think they took us for granted,” he added.

“I think there is a choice between five quality bowlers, so one had to sit out.  It came to Broad that day but there are three back-to-back Test matches and England has maybe five or six Test matches, so sometimes we think that’s the way we have to go.”

The West Indies and England have had competitive outings in the last two Test match series between the teams.  The West Indies also won a Test match, in England, in 2017, before claiming the Wisden Trophy with a 2-1 win over England in the Caribbean last year.

West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood has revealed his friend and mentor Andre Russell had mixed feelings about his heroic performance against England, as the Caribbean team went up 1-0, at Southampton, in the opening match of the ongoing Test series.

Blackwood crafted a crucial 95 from 154, to provide the backbone of the team’s second innings, in a four-wicket win over England.  Despite the player's herculean effort, there was a ting of disappointment as he was caught by James Anderson, off Ben Stokes, just five runs short of what would have been a second Test century.

“He (Russell) was very proud but he said he had mixed feelings.  He was happy and sad at the same time because he really wanted me to score the hundred, but happy that I scored some runs and eventually the team won,” Blackwood told members of the media during a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

The batsman also credited his improvement to a newly acquired fierce work ethic, which has seen himself and compatriot Russell putting in the required hours on and off the pitch.

“Over the past year or so I have been working hard with Andre.  Andre Russell is like my mentor, so we work every single day, seven days a week.  So, I am just pleased now to come and score some runs.  It shows that once you put in the work you will get the runs,” he added.

Amidst all the excitement and celebration surrounding the West Indies’ four-wicket win over England on Sunday, fans of the Caribbean side might have missed out on something else to celebrate.

Jason Holder was surprised when England left out Stuart Broad for the first Test of their three-match series against his West Indies side.

The Windies won a close opening contest by four wickets, with a crucial 95 from Jermaine Blackwood helping the tourists get over the line on day five.

Broad, who has 485 Test wickets and impressed in South Africa at the end of last year, was left out of the line-up in Southampton by stand-in captain Ben Stokes.

Stokes also elected to bat first in overcast conditions, a move that came under scrutiny after England managed just 204 in their first innings.

West Indies captain Holder thought Broad would have played instead of either Jofra Archer or Mark Wood and was happy when Stokes opted to bat after winning the toss.

"This is a proud moment for us," Holder said in a column for the Daily Mail. "We really wanted to start this Test series well and to begin the way we have by winning the first Test is perfect. 

"Looking back at the game, it was my preference to bowl first so I didn't mind England deciding to bat and then our bowlers simply bowled their hearts out on a pretty flat pitch. 

"I was a little surprised England didn't pick Stuart Broad. 

"His record, particularly in this country, is outstanding and I thought they would leave out either Jofra Archer or Mark Wood. But they put out a high quality attack, that's for sure.

"As it went on it became close to the complete West Indian performance. There's no doubt the game changer was that fourth afternoon when we took five wickets after tea.

"Then we were able to finish it off on the last day. It's been a while since we had Shannon Gabriel on the park due to injury so to see him back firing on all cylinders was brilliant. 

"We were always confident we would get 200 to win but losing three quick wickets and John Campbell to injury wasn't ideal. 

"But the partnership between Jermaine Blackwood and Roston Chase was just what we wanted and it was really good to see Jermaine going as deep as he did. 

"This was a career-reviving innings for Jermaine. He's a very exciting player and he grabbed this opportunity with both hands."

The second Test at Old Trafford, for which Joe Root will return as the hosts' captain following the birth of his second child, starts on Thursday, with West Indies knowing they will retain the Wisden Trophy if they avoid defeat.

I have to admit that when Jason Holder was appointed captain of the West Indies Test team in September 2015, I was sceptical. At 23, having made his Test debut just over a year earlier, in June 2014, he was so young – the second youngest Test captain for the West Indies, and too inexperienced to be leading a side that had picked up a terrible habit of losing Test matches and losing them badly.

Between 2011 and 2016, the West Indies played 52 Tests in 20 series. They won only 13 of those matches, lost 27 and managed 12 draws. Those victories saw five series wins and 13 losses. Things were grim and in my opinion, was too much for a youngster who while talented, was still learning the game.

However, over the ensuing five years, many things have changed. In Holder’s first 11 Tests as captain, the West Indies lost eight and drew three of them. In his last 22 including Sunday’s win against England, Holder’s team has won 11 Test matches, lost nine and drawn two.

This latest win pulls him ahead of Brian Lara and into a tie with Richie Richardson as West Indies captains with the most Test wins. Only Clive Lloyd with 36 wins in 74 Tests and Sir Vivian Richards with 27 wins in 50 Tests have more. Richardson’s 11 wins came in 24 matches.

During that time the soft-spoken captain has seen his stocks rise. In July 2014, Holder was 91st in the ICC Test rankings, a year later he had risen to 45 in the rankings. By July 2017, he had climbed to 36 in the rankings and ninth in 2019.

As of today, Holder is the number-two ranked Test bowler in the world.

His batting has also had a significant impact on the fortunes of the side he leads.

Holder scored his maiden Test century against England in April 2015 and since then scored two more centuries and eight fifties averaging a healthy 32.49, considering how low he bats. This fact, along with his improved bowling has seen him become the number one Test all-rounder in the world.

With Holder in the team, the West Indies bowling attack averages a wicket every 32.79 runs. Without him, they take a wicket for every 40.38 runs scored. His impact with the bat is also significant. With him in the team, the West Indies scored an average of 26.34 runs for every wicket they lose. Without him, that number drops to 19.35.

In essence, without Holder, the West Indies bowling team concedes 75.9 more runs per inning while making 69.9 fewer runs per inning. What this math is telling you is that the West Indies are 145 runs worse off when he does not play, especially since he was given the captaincy.

This statistic takes on even greater significance when you consider that since January 1, 2017, the West Indies have won 80 per cent of Test matches (8 of 10 played) in which they have restricted the opposing team to a first-innings score of fewer than 250 runs.

During that same period, the West Indies have won 69 per cent of Test matches or 9 of 13 when they score 250 runs or more in their first innings.

The Test match that concluded on Sunday supports these figures as Holder’s match-changing 6 for 42 restricted England to 204. The West Indies replied with 318 even though Holder’s contribution with the bat was just five runs, it was his bowling that put the West Indies in a position of strength on Day 2, a position they did not relinquish for the duration of the match.

Without him, things can be much different. Since he was appointed, Holder has missed five Tests. The West Indies lost all five.

In August 2017, when England clobbered the West Indies by an innings and 209 runs at Edgbaston, the already beleaguered captain was under even greater pressure to relinquish the captaincy to someone with more experience; someone who the very fickle Caribbean public would find more tolerable.

It was a particularly difficult time for the young Barbadian.

“It’s not easy. We haven’t had the best results over the last few years but I enjoy it,” he said in an interview then revealing the steel that lies beneath the much softer façade the world sees.

“I don’t shy away from it and I don’t think I’d ever give it up. There might be a situation where people want to move on from me but I can’t control that.

“The one thing I can control is trying to get the best out of each and every individual in the dressing room and I try my best to do that. One thing I’ve said to myself is that when I leave here just leave some kind of mark on it. So far, the guys have been quite receptive and helped me out tremendously. It is a young group; we’re trying to learn as fast as we possibly can under the circumstances we’re faced with.”

It’s instructive that since then Holder has led the West Indies in five more Tests against England. He has won four.

The evidence is there, the West Indies are better with Holder in the team and at its helm. And, as he continues to improve in all areas, I suspect his impact on the team will be even greater.

For years, West Indies fans have been divided over when the team will finally turn that never-ending corner and return to winning ways, or at the very least, winning more consistently. What I do know for certain, is that with Holder leading this team, that corner might be finally be turned sooner rather than later.

*Statistics provided by Zaheer Clarke.

 

 

 

 

Jason Holder has been captain of the West Indies in one form of the game or another since 2014 when a Cricket West Indies selection panel led by former captain Clive Lloyd selected him at just 23 years old.

West Indies captain Jason Holder was full of praise for middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood, whose knock of 95 provided the foundation for the West Indies four-wicket win against England in the first Test of the #Raisethebat series on Sunday.

West Indies captain Jason Holder has moved up a place to the number-two spot in the Reliance ICC Test rankings for bowlers.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) is partnering with The Duppy Share Caribbean Rum as its new Official Rum Partner in the United Kingdom for the duration of the Sandals West Indies Tour of England 2020.

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