England vs West Indies 2020: A Complete Report Card

Source :SIFY
Last Updated: Thu, Jul 30th, 2020, 16:42:50hrs
wisden trophy england vs west indies

England avenged their 2019 series defeat over the West Indies to clinch the three-Test Wisden trophy. It was also a historic affair by a lot of means as England won the last Wisden Trophy as from the next series onwards it will be called the Richards-Botham Trophy. 

Besides that, the series marked the beginning of international cricket in the 'new normal' and England set the momentum straightaway adding some points to their World Test Championship tally.

A series recap

West Indies opened their account in the World Test Championship table with a comprehensive victory over the Englishmen. The first Test raised a few questions about the England team selection as stand-in captain Ben Stokes dropped senior fast bowler Stuart Broad and went into the match with rising stars Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. However, Broad returned strongly in the next two matches as the visitors were well and truly beaten.

Bio-bubble loophole

All the matches were played in the bio-bubble environment. For the uninitiated, the environment does not allow any contact with the outside world, to secure the players from the novel coronavirus. However, fast bowler Jofra Archer was caught off guard when he decided to visit his apartment in Brighton, when the team was moving from Southampton to Manchester for the second Test. He was subsequently barred from playing the second Test. A few players were also not happy with the environment as they complained that they could not go out for coffee or meet their family even if the matches are played at their homeground.

No-saliva, no problem!

Shannon Gabriel hit the deck and found the right spots at Southampton to trouble the Englishmen. His partner Kemar Roach also seemed to be bowling fine without the saliva. For England, Broad, James Anderson and Chris Woakes too seemed to have settled well. There were also times when Jofra Archer was caught applying sweat to the ball.

However, the reason behind the bowlers not facing much trouble could be the Dukes ball, which helps assist the bowlers without any natural substance for the first 70 overs.

Key performances

Stuart Broad - 9/10

A player like Broad was not worth dropping and he rightly proved it. Such was the magnitude of his performance that he was adjudged the man of the series even after missing the Southampton Test. The ever-hungry Broad returned into the second Test to pick up six wickets while his brilliant performance earned him a perfect 10 in the final match. He also joined an elite list of players and became the only second England bowler to pick up his 500th Test scalp. Incidentally, his milestone-wicket Kraigg Braithwaite, was the same as James Anderson. Broad also mentioned that it can be a quiz question for many years to come now.

Dominic Sibley - 8/10

Two ducks, two half-centuries and a century sums up the performance for Dominic Sibley in the series. His traditional, patient build-up play has made him a perfect fit in the English top order, something which the side have lacked for years. Sibley will have no points for his artistry and leaves the ball better than anyone does and thus will be highly regarded in the coming years.

Ben Stokes - 8.5/10

Full marks for his commitment. There is perhaps no all-rounder better than Ben Stokes in world cricket at the moment and he pipped his rival Jason Holder to take the top spot. Stokes might have hit one century and a solitary half century in the match but when he ran all the way to the boundary to save it off his own bowling, that showed the level of commitment he has.

Kemar Roach/Shannon Gabriel - 7/10

Inconsistency was the major drawback for the West Indies new-ball bowlers Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel. Roach finished the Test series with 10 wickets to his tally while Gabriel ended with 11 but there were innings when both the bowlers went wicket-less as the England batsmen absolutely decimated their bowling. Gabriel, however, was the more impactful out of the two but his lacklusture performances at times asked a few questions.

Jason Holder - 7.5/10

Jason Holder proved once again that he is under-rated as an all-rounder. His performance in the first innings was brilliant but it slumped in the second and third matches. He chipped in with 10 wickets in the series but was not regular with the bat. As a captain with the first Test win in Southampton, it looked like Holder could well write history for the West Indies after 32 years but their performance was questionable in the remaining matches.