The West Indies were looking to win their first series on English soil for 32 years. The Caribbean side won the 1st Test by four wickets. Jermaine Blackwood’s innings of 95 saw the visitors home on the final day at the Ageas Bowl. It was the first Test Match since the coronavirus pandemic had put a halt to the schedule for international Test cricket. However, England came from behind to stretch their unbeaten home Test record. The run of form dates back to 2014, when they were beaten by Sri Lanka 1-0.
A notable highlight from the series was Stuart Broad claiming his 500th Test wicket, to join an elite group of bowlers to surpass the milestone. He is only the second Englishman to reach the total after teammate James Anderson.
England’s veteran seamers, Broad and Anderson, were each left out of a Test. They were both picked in the final match and reminded England’s selectors that they still have plenty left to give to the Test side.
However, he responded impressively over the following two matches to record a total of 16 wickets. Broad also fittingly claimed the final wicket of the series to finish with a 10 wicket haul in the match.
Questions will be asked over whether England can score enough runs. Both sides’ bowlers starred in the low scoring games, although that could be put down to the favourable English conditions for the ball. In terms of batting, England may finally have found two openers they can rely on to build an innings in Test cricket. Despite their somewhat slow scoring rate, Dom Sibley and Rory Burns notched up England’s first century partnership for the first wicket since 2016.
Another notable achievement was Ben Stokes’ rise to world number one as an all-rounder. He took nine wickets over the series and scored 363 runs. His match stats included a 300+ ball century in the first innings of the 2nd Test, followed by the fastest half century by an England cricketer in the second. He is the first English all-rounder to top the ICC rankings since Andrew Flintoff in 2006.
The England side regained the Wisden Trophy, which will be retired and replaced with the Richards-Botham Trophy, in honour of Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Ian Botham.
Controversy came in the form of Jofra Archer, who breached the Covid-19 ‘bubble’ regulations and was not allowed to play in the second Test.
Joe Root’s Test side will hope to extend their unbeaten run on home soil against Pakistan. The three match series starts on August 5 at Emirates Old Trafford. England’s white-ball side are currently playing Ireland, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, have named a completely different squad of players for the three match ODI series.
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