Stuart Broad’s match-winning spell of 10 for 67 and his efforts with the bat ensure England win the third and final test match against the Windies by 269 runs to seal the series 2-1.

Teams:-

England’s changes: Jimmy Anderson in for Sam Curran and Jofra Archer replacing Zak Crawley.

West Indies’ change: Rakheem Cornwall, the spinner took Alzarri Joseph’s place.

Trivia: England’s home record without Sam Curran in tests since 2018:-

Played-7, won-1, draw-1, lost-5

The Windies thought the pitch would offer something for the slower bowlers after Roston Chase picked up five wickets in the last test match here therefore they brought in Cornwall as the second spinner.

England played the extra seamer for a batsman because Ben Stokes had fitness issues a day before the test match and would only play as a specialist batsman.Jofra served his one match ban for breaking the bio-secure protocols and was back in the side.A little unfair on Crawley but the result worked out in their favour.

Image courtesy: @icc

Toss:-

The West Indies won the toss and put the hosts to bat first.Jason Holder elected to field first in the last test match as well and lost the game on the same ground.

Players from both teams wore red coloured caps at the start of the day to show support for the #RedForRuth foundation which helps cancer patients.It was established by ex England captain and player Andrew Strauss in honour of his wife,Ruth Strauss,who died after suffering from a rare type of lung cancer.

DAY 1:-

Sibley had to walk off the pitch in the first over itself as Roach caught him LBW in front of middle stump.Roach planned the wicket excellently.He bowled most of his deliveries to the batsman wide outside the off stump and then straightened the line for this ball which went past the opener’s defence.Only into the sixth over of the match and Shannon Gabriel limped off the field which forced Holder to bring himself early to bowl.Root took his time to settle and played patiently but a sharp throw from Chase at backward point to the wicketkeeper meant he fell well short of the crease and had to be given out.Burns and Stokes took England to lunch at 66 for 2.

Trivia: No batsman has been run out more number of times in tests than Joe Root since 2018.He was run out in successive tests this series.

After lunch, Stokes got out to a peach of a delivery by Roach which went through the gate knocking off his middle stump after which Ollie Pope came in to bat.He played the back-cut which flew through the gully region a number of times but later on he gained control of his innings.Burns reached his half-century and soon after, was dismissed by Chase.He tried to cut a fuller length ball which bounced higher than he expected and Cornwall completed a sharp one-handed catch at first slip.

At 131 for 4,England needed a partnership to put up a challenging score and only Butler and Pope would have to do it.They were the last recognised batting pair because England were playing one batsman short and it was an opportunity for both to come out of a string of low scores and add to their tally of test runs.They did just that as they stitched a hundred plus partnership together and batted out the day.Butler reached his second half century in 12 matches and Pope, unbeaten on 91 showed glimpses of the way veteran middle-order player Ian Bell batted and it was mentioned by none other than the master blaster.

DAY 2:-

The first hour of play and the second hour were two different performances from the Windies.They reduced England to 280-8 picking up 4 wickets at the start of the day and bowled in good areas to get them.West Indies looked like they would bat before lunch untill Stuart Broad came in and played a blinder of a knock to put the home side ahead in the game.

Trivia: Kemar Roach became the 9th West Indies bowler to reach 200 test wickets.

Broad, although a lower order batsman, has under achieved his batting capabilities.The 62-run innings was his highest since 2014 and he averaged in the 20s before that year.Coming to his stance, he made a slight change in his footwork.He previously had the tendency to move way across his off stump while batting so much so that his entire leg stump was visible to the bowler and he would fall prey to catches down the leg side by the wicketkeeper or even a leg slip at times.This time he did not move away from his stance and dispatched anything that was short of length by the fast bowlers to all parts of the ground.

Trivia: Broad’s 50 which came in 33 balls was the third fastest fifty by an English player in a test match.

England were all out for 369 and the West Indies batsmen had a task on their hands.Brathwaite was the first to depart as he edged one to first slip which swung late .Broad picked up his first of the match.Campbell played his shots to Anderson and Broad but was soon hurried by an unplayable bumper from Jofra which popped up and went to Burns.Anderson claimed wickets on either side of tea, first Shai Hope and then Brooks.The west Indies ended their day at 137 for 6.

Dowrich (above) had to walk off the field after being hurt trying to collect the ball.Image courtesy: @icc

DAY 3:-

Woakes and Archer started proceedings for England with the new ball.The west Indies avoided the follow-on but couldn’t avoid the rockets that were fired by Broad.He picked up six wickets in the innings and helped his side lead by 172 runs.Sibley and Burns put on a 110 run stand for the opening partnership and both of them reached their fifties.Sibley fell to Holder but Root and Burns extended their lead to 398 runs.Root rotated strike to help Burns get to his hundred as soon as possible to decide on the declaration but he fell for 90 and the captain went past 50.

Trivia: The partnership between Sibley and Burns was the first 100+ opening partnership for England since 2016 in tests.The last time England managed to do that was when Hales and Cook put up 126 for the first wicket against Pakistan in 2016.

The Windies needed 399 runs to win the final test match.They had to deal with a tricky period late in the day.They first needed to remain wicketless to go through the third day. However, with Broad and Anderson breathing down their necks it was always going to be an uphill task.Campbell nicked one off Broad and the night watchman,Roach lost his wicket ending the day at 10 for 2.

DAY 4:-

Play was called off because of rains throughout the day.

DAY 5:-

The forecast showed showers throughout the day which meant play would be interrupted every now and then.

Broad was on 499 test wickets and he needed not more than a few overs to reach his 500th test wicket.He bowled the nip backer to Brathwaite who was out plumb in front of middle stump.It’s a shame there was noone in the stands to witness the great moment if you look at how Shane Warne reached his 700th test wicket in front of a packed MCG or even when Muttiah Muralitharan reached 800 test wickets in his farewell test match.Broad joined an elite set of cricketers to pick 500 test wickets.

Broad(right) and Anderson are the only active cricketers to have more than 500 test wickets.At 34 and 37 respectively,both of them could be at the end of their careers.How Lucky are we to watch them play in the same eleven till date? Image courtesy: @englandcricket

Trivia: Both Broad and Anderson’s 500th wicket was Kraigg Brathwaite.Anderson got him in 2017 at Lord’s and Broad picked up his wicket at The Old Trafford in 2020.Strange isn’t it?

The rest of the day belonged to Chris Woakes who picked up a brilliant fifer and not to forget the direct hit by Dom Bess from point to dismiss Roston Chase.It was a perfect ending to the series for Broad and England as he recorded his fourth wicket and West indies’ last to win the test match and claim the Wisden trophy.

The Wisden Trophy is retired now and will be placed in the MCC Museum.The series between the two teams will be named after legends Viv Richards and Ian Botham as the Botham-Richards trophy.

Joe root (above)Image courtesy: @englandcricket

West Indies’ man of the series:Roston Chase

He came up with a brilliant all-round performance in this series.He picked up a fifer when his team needed him and also played crucial situations really well while batting in both innings at Southampton to win the game for his team.

England’s man of the match and man of the series:Stuard Broad

With 16 wickets at an average of 10.93 Broad ended up as the highest wicket-taker in the series even though he missed the first test match.From being “frustrated,angry and gutted” to becoming England’s milestone man he’s proven to the world that he’s nowhere near done with his cricket.

This has been an excellent series to watch as a fan of the game.First, the West Indies showed they’re not playing to compete but to win and then England bounced back in style which set up an exciting finish for the third test. Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel, Jermain Blackwood, Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad really set the bar too high for players from other countries to perform after the lockdown period.

There was a point where the return of international cricket or any level of Cricket looked like a far away dream in 2020.This three match series was more than just a few games of Cricket played between two teams.It gives hope to the other Cricket boards to resume the sport that we love so much with proper social distancing measures and maintaining a bio-secure environment.

A huge amount of credit and respect to the west indies for everything that they’ve done from leaving their homes at such a difficult time to providing viewers with such high quality cricket.The ECB ofcourse played a massive role to host the test series.

Thank you for reading this blog.The next one will be posted soon.