West Indies vs England: Third ODI Preview


England will be looking to complete the whitewash when they face the West Indies in the third and final ODI in Bridgetown. 

The fight the West Indies strung together in Antigua didn't translate to victory, but the signs still promise enough. A consolation win, indeed, would go a long way in boosting individual confidences among the collective mindset.

A series whitewash, however, would epitomise England's resilience in the Caribbean, where their preparations for the Champions Trophy - and a challenging series against the number one-ranked South Africans - are well on track.

West Indies v England | Thursday, 9 March | Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados | 15:00

To Win Match
West Indies 23/10  | Tie 35/1 | England 34/100 

West Indies
Batting-wise, much like the first ODI, the Windies found middle-order formidability in Jonathan Carter and Jason Mohammed during the second showdown. Once again, though, the hosts must demand more from the rest. Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell, for their respective fine form in the Test arena and West Indies Cricket Board Regional Super50, need to show they can score big runs in the ODI arena, too.

On the bowling front, well, Ashley Nurse and Devendra Bishoo have plenty to go on after genuinely troubling the opposition order in the second fixture. While the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown is anticipated to be quicker than the one on offer at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, the spinners should benefit regardless.

While the English have all but insisted they won't change their XI for the closing match, the West Indians really must consider doing so. Now is as good a time as any to return seamer Alzarri Joseph to the fray, while all-rounder Rovman Powell deserves more opportunity to model the role previously played by Andre Russell, who is currently serving a suspension. With Shannon Gabriel in doubt due to fitness issues, either of Powell or Joseph could slot in.

Captain Jason Holder rued his team's missed chances in the field last week - and, yes, their catching simply has to improve in Barbados. Taking the opposition close in the other departments will consistently be undone if roles in the ring and on the boundary are not bettered. The Windies have characteristically lacked in this area and, against a fine-tuned England fielding unit, they will want to avoid being inept.

The English didn't train on Monday and Tuesday, instead affording themselves time on the golf course - and with family. The confident bunch they are, they'll trust Wednesday's session in the nets will suffice - and, ostensibly, it will. Acutely aware of the busy schedule, the team's management are being wise to balance work with play.

If changes are made to the XI, fans can foresee returns for Jonny Bairstow ahead of Sam Billings and Jake Ball instead of Steven Finn. Perhaps not Bairstow, but Ball is closer to the first-choice playing unit for the Champions Trophy than Billings and Finn - and, a mere six ODIs away from the important ICC event, the time is right to get him back into the proverbial swing of things.

The tourists' struggles against spinners Nurse and Bishoo were well documented during the second ODI in Antigua, but importantly, at least three men were prepared to grind out half-centuries, rather than throw their wickets away in the hope of big, quick runs. The series scoreline could have been different, had Jason Roy, Joe Root and Chris Woakes not displayed such patience and diligence. The other five of the top eight batsmen need to follow suit.

Woakes is gradually turning into the complete package - and praise aplenty is pouring in for the talented all-rounder. Relatively ineffective with the ball in North Sound's second ODI, he weighed in with the bat. In the series opener, he was hardly required with the willow, but contributed four wickets. Big things beckon on both fronts.

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Verdict: England 37/100
England's last visit to the Kensington Oval brought a comfortable nine-wicket victory, while the Windies' recent record here has been checkered, to say the least. The home side can take heart from 2016's tri-nations win over South Africa in Bridgetown, but their XI has changed considerably - and not necessarily for the better.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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