The lunch interval on day4 of the second test match at Old Trafford is nearing its end, so what are the propsects?
THE STORY SO FAR
Yesterday was entirely lost to the weather, meaning that the West Indies started today 32-1 in reply to England’s 469-9 declared. The morning session has been much better for them than for England, with only nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph dismissed, a wicket for Dom Bess. Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope are currently together with the score 118-2. Can England win this match and keep the Wisden Trophy alive?
POTENTIAL WINNING SCENARIOS
I see three potential winning scenarios, each of which has two subvariations. They are as follows:
1. England bowl the West Indies out for 269 or less, which is still possible although the likelihood is receding. Then either a)England enforce follow-on, bowl West Indies out cheaply and win by an innings margin, b)England enforce follow on, bowl West Indies out and have a small run chase in the final innings c)if England really are determined to give their bowlers a short rest between bowling stints they bat for 10 or 15 overs taking an ‘all guns blazing approach’ and then get the West Indies in again and bowl them out to win by a runs margin.
2. England bowl the West Indies out for 270-319, definitely a possibility. Then either a)England forfeit their second innings in and all or nothing gamble on victory and bowl the West Indies out to win the match.
b)England go in again taking the ‘all guns blazing’ approach and declare giving the West Indies a tough but achievable chase (they need to dangle a carrot otherwise the West Indies simply shut up shop and secure the Wisden Trophy) and manage to bowl the West Indies out a second time.
3. England bowl the West Indies for a total in excess of 320, but still with a useful lead for England, and England go all out for quick runs, either being bowled out or declaring to set the West Indies a tough but achievable target, and bowl the West Indies out.
IF ENGLAND HAVE TO BAT AGAIN
If it is for a very straightforward run chase with no major acceleration needed then no change is needed to the batting order. In any other scenario (i.e. runs needed at speed) I would hold Sibley, Burns and Craw;ey back for emergencies and send Stokes and Buttler into open with instructions to treat it as a T20 innings, with Pope coming at three, Woakes four, Curran five, Bess six, Root 7, and only if all of these are out cheaply enough for England to be in danger of defeat turn to the regular nos 1-3 to shut up shop. In a quick runs for a declaration scenario where I thought a couple more overs batting would be beneficial I would even take this further should the situation arise and promote Broad to have a swing. I would also say that although I have allowed for the possibility of not enforcing the follow-on I reckon that England should do so unless they can boost thei lead by enough quickly enough to get the West Indies in again by tomorrow morning at the latest.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE THIRD MATCH
I am reckoning that Anderson and Wood will return, Archer will be considered but may not play. Also, in view of the turn that Bess is extracting I would consider picking Parkinson and gambling on two specialist pacers plus Stokes to handle that side of things. As I write this Sam Curran has just claimed the third West Indies wicket to make it 123-3, and he has two of them. A possible ‘gamblers pick’ for the third test would be give Pope the gauntlets and keep him at no6, and then five regular bowlers, Curran, Bess, Archer, Wood and Anderson, or the two-spinner ‘gamblers pick’ which is similar except Parkinson replaces Wood, meaning a one place promotion for Anderson (Parkinson is a genuine no11). England have played well this match, and I suspect that if they do manage to win it they will take the series. An England win to level the series would be good for cricket, creating a winner-takes-all scenario for the final game. So to, though it is a remote possibility, would a win for the West Indies, giving them their first series win in England since 1988, albeit in a different way. A drawn match has little to commend it, since the West Indies would then be thinking very much in terms of avoiding defeat in the final match and thereby winning the series (a draw when 0-2 down could not benefit England, whereas a win would at least salvage some pride).
LINKS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
Two related pieces here:
- Molly Scott Cato, professor of economics and one of the leading lights of the Green Party, has a piece at theecologist.org titled “If Humanity Counted“.
- Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has set out some brief thoughts on Modern Monetary Theory – the first three are screenshotted below.
Now it is time for my usual sign off…