England vs West Indies, 3rd Test, Day 3 – Is Broad Bowling?

England are in a dominant position overnight, and it seems like only the English weather can rescue the West Indies from an inevitable defeat. One man is essentially responsible for England’s ascendancy in this game: Stuart Broad.

The West Indies’ first innings ended pretty quickly, at least once Broad started bowling. He had been held back for the first few overs of the morning, perhaps being saved for the start of the next innings if England had managed to enforce the follow-on. Whilst Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich had a few scares, including Holder being given out before being recalled due to Chris Woakes’ second ever Test no ball, they looked set when Stuart Broad started. Four overs later, Broad had taken four wickets and the West Indies innings was over.

England’s second innings began with two injuries to the tourists. First was captain Jason Holder, who stopped a bouncing ball through the slips with his left thumb and had to leave the field briefly for treatment. The second, and significantly more serious injury, was to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich. Some late swing after it passed the batsman meant that a quick, short delivery from Shannon Gabriel barely glanced the keeper’s gloves and was instead stopped by his unprotected face. A painful one to watch, and he immediately left the field for medical attention and didn’t return.

Fortunately for the West Indies, ICC changed the rules in 2018 to allow teams to bring in substitute wicketkeepers. Shai Hope stood in for a few overs before reserve keeper Joshua Da Silva came on the field for the rest of the day. He almost made an immediate impact, just failing to stump Rory Burns. Just on the evidence of today, I would say that he looks much more confident in terms of his glovework compared to Shane Dowrich. It’s unclear whhether Dowrich will be available to bat for the tourists in the next innings. One possibility, seeing as it was a head injury, is that he can be replaced in the batting lineup by Da Silva if Dowrich is exhibiting concussion symptoms. Otherwise, Dowrich will either have to face England’s bowling attack or the West Indies will forfeit his wicket.

This England innings represents the tenth of Rory Burns and Dom Sibley’s opening partnerships. When they are batting together at the start of an innings, they score an average of 43.00 runs for the first wicket. This is fantastic. To put this in context, the last England opening partnership of at least ten innings to average more than this was the Compton/Cook pairing in 2012-13. The one before that was Cook/Vaughan in 2007-08. The Cook/Strauss opening partnership of 2006-12 averaged ‘just’ 40.96. There are many people, including journalists and commentators, who are decrying their slow scoring rate. It is certainly slow, only Joe Root’s opening partnership with Alastair Cook in the 2013 Ashes has a lower run rate in recent times, but it is also working. Just last summer, England were averaging 16.66 for their first wicket at home. Since then, England are scoring an average of 43.75 runs before their first dismissal. Good starts are a rare and precious commodity for England Test teams in recent years, and they should not be sacrificed on the altar of playing attacking or attractive cricket.

When Dom Sibley did eventually lose his wicket for 56 (bringing his 2020 batting average to 57.44 from six Tests), the scoring tempo rose dramatically. Perhaps taking his cue from Stuart Broad yesterday, Joe Root went into white ball mode and managed to reach his half-century quicker than a run per ball. Eventually Rory Burns sacrificed his wicket on 90 trying a slog sweep in order to score more quickly, which led Joe Root to declare with England 398 runs ahead.

With Broad taking a six-fer in the first innings, all eyes were on him at the start of the second. He didn’t disappoint, taking John Campbell’s wicket in his first over drawing an edge to first slip. Nightwatchman Kemar Roach followed soon after. Between the end of the West Indies’ first innings and the beginning of their second, Broad took six wickets in seven overs today. It has been a truly remarkable Test for Broad, and he has the opportunity to cap it with a historic milestone as he currently sits on 499 career Test wickets.

Stuart Broad is also the top wicket-taker in this series so far with fourteen wickets so far. An impressive feat, considering the entire West Indies attack (and Dom Bess) have played an extra Test compared to Broad. Of those fourteen wickets, eight have been bowled or lbw. There is often consternation amongst England fans when England’s bowlers bowl short and wide, particularly at home or with the new ball. This series demonstrates why. Whilst some world-class batsmen would punish such a line and length, the vast majority of Test cricketers struggle against a seaming or swinging ball and deliveries going on to hit the stumps bring at least two forms of dismissal into play.

All eyes are on the weather forecast for tomorrow, with many people expecting a washout. In the form Broad is in right now, maybe he can even do something about that.

As always, please comment below.


22 thoughts on “England vs West Indies, 3rd Test, Day 3 – Is Broad Bowling?

  1. metatone Jul 26, 2020 / 6:53 pm

    Not really much to say.
    England have played ok, Broad has been outstanding.
    The question for Sibley and Burns is what happens against more consistent bowling attacks?

    WI have not lived up to their 1st match performance and surrendering these big totals just ramped up the pressure. I think they should have rotated the bowling more – 3 back to back is just a lot for the seamers. Playing 2 spinners has not been an inspired choice either.


    • quebecer Jul 27, 2020 / 1:18 am

      I must admit, I do wonder what Sibley will do when the Aussies post a legside sweeper from the get go.


      • dannycricket Jul 27, 2020 / 7:12 am

        Forget Australia, Pakistan will be a challenge for him and particularly Burns as they have two spinners who are significantly better than Chase and Cornwall. That’s the nature of modern international cricket. Every team has access to video of every game played, and statistics to analyse. It’s a constant battle between teams targeting weaknesses and nullifying strengths of their opponents, and players having to adjust to that.


      • Marek Jul 27, 2020 / 12:04 pm

        The Pakistan spinner aspect is an interesting one. Yasir Shah might not be the threat everyone thinks he’ll be–for me he’s a bit like the Chris Woakes of Pakistan cricket, not much of a threat west of Quetta (although unlike Woakes he does have a test hundred in Australia…:-)

        In Asia and WI (in the days when WI were still producing slow, spinning pitches) he’s taken 181 wickets at under 25 in 27 tests; everywhere else 32 in 12 tests at over 60. On the last England tour he was a total mixed bag–ten wickets in the first match, total cannon-fodder in the second (at Manchester interestingly, where his match figures were 63 overs, 1-266).

        Shadab Khan meanwhile has to get past Misbah, who seems to have a total aversion to playing him in the test side even in places where Yasir has bowled like a drain, before he can get at`Sibley or any other English batsman. In the warm-up games they haven’t bowled him at all in one innings, he got a couple of overs in another, and went for a run a ball off almost 20 overs in the third. Don’t hold your breath, I suspect.

        In fact, given how Sohail Khan’s been bowling in the warm-ups, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that Pakistan’s spin-bowling attack in Manchester will be the might of Iftikhar`Ahmed and Azhar Ali.


      • Andrew Dow Jul 27, 2020 / 12:59 pm

        A sigh that a bowler has beaten a batsman is that he “gets turned round”. Sibley does that for himself on any ball on or outside off stump…….


  2. thelegglance Jul 26, 2020 / 7:39 pm

    I will confess to being highly amused at the media/social media discussion around the speed of Sibley and Burns partnership. England have been a complete disaster at the top of the order for a few years, and while these two might not be world beaters, at least there’s some stability now.

    No, neither of them are natural at smacking it around. And? So what? It’s not usually their job, and they did fine today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dArthez Jul 27, 2020 / 9:00 am

      That is just ridiculous. They want openers who score at 36 / over, and contribute 500-run opening stands every time, because otherwise … They are just divorced from reality, and can’t even see back to anything that happened more than 5 seconds ago. Vaughan’s opinions are evidence of that in general.

      If they contribute meaningfully, and can get the opening stand last for a bit (not even necessarily scoring massively, but just take the shine of the new ball), that should help the stroke makers down the order. I know the stats are usually “what do Root / Stokes / Whoever score, when they come in at …” but 30/1 after 20 overs is usually a better position than 30/1 after 2 overs – and that should be considered too. Likewise, even if these two go cheaply (and that can happen), chances are it will be 20/2 after 12 overs, rather than in the fifth. Again, that would be a better position for the batting side.

      Of course there will be sterner Tests than the West Indies at home, but at least these two suggest permanency. That was quite a bit different with say Roy or Hales …

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Jul 27, 2020 / 9:04 am

        Yep. Some of Root’s decline over the last few years will be down to constantly coming in against the new ball and facing bowlers with their tails up. Because that’s not measurable statistically, it never gets factored in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marek Jul 27, 2020 / 11:49 am

        On a slight tangent–I wonder how much of Root’s decline is down to being captain. He averages ten runs less as captain (so, over almost fifty tests). In England this seems to be taken as a given about the captaincy generally, but it isn’t true internationally: of other recent batting captains the only one I can find whose average goes down more than a couple of runs is Shakib al-Hasan, and he’s a more successful bowler when he’s captain than when he isn’t. Williamson averages five or so more as captain, Mushfiqur Rahim and Angelo Mathews almost ten, and Kohli and Smith (who average around 60 and 70 respectively as captain) fifteen or twenty.

        If Root was a genius captain, then that wouldn’t matter so much. But he isn’t–which makes me wonder if England are getting the best out of him overall. Specifically I wonder {stands back and takes cover, knowing that this is a controversial subject!] whether it isn’t time to give Stokes a go as permanent captain. Like everyone else, I have nothing empirical to base this on as captain, but I have a hunch both that he would be at least as good tactically as Root, a much more natural leader and affected less by being captain.


        • thelegglance Jul 27, 2020 / 11:53 am

          Would that concern about Root not apply even more to Stokes? He’s got batting, bowling and slip catching to worry about already.

          Do agree there’s no inherent reason why the captain’s performances should decline.


          • dannycricket Jul 27, 2020 / 7:49 pm

            I suspect that it happens as much because of timing as anything. England tends to appoint senior batsmen in their late twenties or early thirties as captain. At that point, most batsmen are at their peak and the only way from a peak is downhill. Other teams seem to appoint captains at an earlier age, perhaps seeing leadership and tactical acumen as independent skills rather than (as English cricket seems to regard it) something which is defined by age and experience.


          • Marek Jul 27, 2020 / 8:34 pm

            That’s an interesting point Danny…but it doesn’t explain the Root situation, because he’d only just turned 26 when he was appointed–very similar in age to Kohli, Williamson and Mushfiqur from the list above.


          • dannycricket Jul 27, 2020 / 10:13 pm

            I would say that for most of his captaincy, Root was England’s only genuinely Test-quality batsman. Cook was a spent force by then, Stokes hadn’t developed into what he is now, and Bairstow had allowed his white ball game to destroy his Test technique. Everyone else seemed to come in for a series or two, get dropped, and be replaced by someone else who continued the cycle. That is a huge amount of pressure to put on any batsman, even ignoring the captaincy. You can kind of see a half-decent batting unit possibly forming now, which might help Root regain his form.

            England’s schedule is also pretty insane, particularly for someone like Root who is also in the white ball sides. It’s not uncommon for England cricketers to spend 10 months or more away from home every year. Many internationals won’t spend that long on the road (although I would guess Kohli does). That has to potentially cause mental fatigue and burnout.


          • dArthez Jul 28, 2020 / 1:53 pm

            England’s schedules are insane. Sure, but effectively missing out on IPL, and all the other leagues to supplement one’s income (and all the travel involved for those) does not mean that the top players from other nations do have significantly less hectic schedules.

            As for the bowlers, England, Australia and India are the only ones who can pay centrally contracted players enough money to avert demands to play in the IPL / CPL / Big Bash / Blast / and the other 2 dozen T20 leagues that are in existence (and the overlapping seasons in general do not help English players there). You’ll find that the England bowlers in particular have rather modest schedules, certainly compared to the past (James Anderson has not even played 100 FC fixtures; Botham managed 300).

            What is hard on the batsmen is changing between formats. And other than the freaks of Kohli and AB de Villiers they do struggle (Steven Smith is not that great in T20; same holds for Kane Williamson); and I don’t think Root would get into many “Test teams of the decade” (for the last decade). The same applies to bowlers – but that is much harder to notice (what kind of deliveries do they bowl, how do they plan and all that). But T20 bowling has its effects on how the same bowlers bowl in Tests, and it is often quite ruinous to them.

            Amla started declining once he decided to chase the money in T20 (and with the pay in South Africa, I can’t fault him for that). And I can give you plenty of examples from the world over. Yet the English media thought the last time SA toured that he was still 2010-2012 vintage, and completely oblivious to the destruction of his technique (and ageing accelerated that decline, but was by no means the sole cause).
            And of course it is even much worse with newer international players, since they have not even developed much of a Test technique / mindset to begin with, due to the financial imperatives which are extremely heavily tilted towards T20 everywhere, with the sole exception of … England (and possibly Australia).

            Ruing Bairstow’s destruction of his technique seems a bit oblivious to what the financial imperatives are that are hoisted upon most national team players elsewhere. West Indies being a prime example, and the number of soft dismissals this series is just a reminder of that.

            So I would not blame the scheduling too much, since, yes they are insane, but that effectively applies to other nations’ players just as well (albeit not representing their national teams, but the Toronto Fireflies, the Quetta Gladiators or so on), who also have to juggle multiple formats to actually make money. Anderson probably ends up being paid more per Test he plays this year, than say Quinton de Kock makes on his central contract over the full year. Thus England can afford to specialise and then cash in on the specialisation with increasingly meaningless bilateral series wins.


        • Marek Jul 27, 2020 / 12:10 pm

          As I say, my hunch is that it wouldn’t–although I have nothing to back that up! Something about their respective characters maybe. But I think it would be worth a punt.


  3. Marek Jul 27, 2020 / 12:28 pm

    In other news-why have a look at some of the country’s brightest uncapped or little-capped batsmen in the ODI team when you could have another look at promising young hopefuls James Vince and Joe Denly?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Jul 27, 2020 / 1:05 pm

      Vince did do well against Pakistan in UAE 5 years ago…


    • Marek Jul 27, 2020 / 2:39 pm

      Didn’t he impress Flower with his attitude on a Lions tour around then too? Maybe that still counts for something, although obviously not officially…:-)

      Actually the bowling isn’t much better–only four seamers in the main squad, one of whom has had five stress fractures in six seasons, plus two reserves one of whom is uncapped in any format and who’ll be 36 by the time the next WC starts.

      I suppose we should be grateful that Gareth Batty isn’t one of the spinners…


  4. Metatone Jul 28, 2020 / 12:16 pm

    I had Hoped Shai was going to get his form back, but he’s thrown it away again.


    • rpoultz Jul 28, 2020 / 1:18 pm

      I think the West Indies look just about ready to go home. I cant blame them really but if the weather holds England wont take long to wrap this up.


  5. dlpthomas Jul 28, 2020 / 2:55 pm

    I think mentally they are already on the plane home. It must have been a very difficult tour for them and they deserve a lot of praise for coming.


  6. dArthez Jul 28, 2020 / 3:12 pm

    So England won with a 5 man attack, and one member of the attack did not even have to bowl a single ball (Bess). If it had not been for the weather, this could well have been a 500-run trashing.

    Can’t say that I am impressed with the amount of fight shown by West Indies in this Test. Though at least considering the circumstances that is excusable.

    And so we have yet another series loss in for the West Indies.

    On the road:
    Twelve series losses in a row, and just 3 drawn series out of the last 34 (England 1995, New Zealand 2008 and Sri Lanka 2010) – so this is not even their longest losing streak against the Top 8 teams (that is 17 series between the England series draw and the New Zealand series draw).


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