England win by nine wickets

In the end, this was not close. To be fair, it should never have been. The West Indies had some good sessions, usually accompanied by England seeming to switch off a bit, but in the rest of the match England were utterly dominant. In a way, it was another good warmup for England before South Africa (pity about the huge number of ODIs in between, but that is another rant). The West Indies showed in the evening of the first day and the first half or so of the third that England could not really afford to let up, but England seldom bothered to get out of about second gear. The one time they did, on the third evening, the West Indies found themselves 61-6.

There were some bright spots for the West Indies: Darren Sammy had a very good match with the bat; he finally realised that he could not simply throw the bat at everything and hope it came off. Not only in the first innings, when he scored his maiden Test century, but also in the second as he tried to push the target up to something reasonable he found a much better balance of orthodox attack and sensible defence. It was a far cry from his dismissal at Lord’s to a ball that he did well to even reach. Marlon Samuels did very well in both innings, with a century in the first and an unbeaten 76 in the second. He is another who seems to have worked out the value of patience; in both innings his strike rate was under fifty. Kemar Roach had a massive no-ball problem and apparently still has a slight ankle problem, but he bowled brilliantly with the second new ball.

England will not go into Edgbaston thinking that there are no problems, but the scoreline is a fair one for the Test as a whole. None of the batsmen really fared poorly, most of the dismissals were to good deliveries. The main exception, Strauss, can be excused on the grounds that he had already made 141. The bowling was very good in the second innings and for parts of the first. Jimmy finally started to get a bit of luck, though his match figures are still less than he deserved. He and Broad blew away the West Indies top order twice and though many of the batsmen were complicit in their own demise, there are few who would say that the opening spells were anything but sharp. They might care to look at the balance of the side and ensure that they are still effective with the old ball.

Going into Edgbaston, I suspect the West Indies may name an unchanged side. There is not a lot of reserve talent at their disposal, so even Kirk Edwards will probably stay on. Roach and Rampaul bowled well enough, at least in bursts, that there should be no temptation to bring Fidel Edwards back. That will probably become clearer after the match at Leicester, however. Roach also needs to work on his no-balling problem in that match.

England, despite their comfortable win, may make at least one change. There has been a suggestion that with the series wrapped up they may choose to rest Broad and Anderson. Bresnan would appear to have secured his place for the near future. I do not think that Jimmy will be rested, though Broad might be. Jimmy is a bowler who relies on being in a good rhythm and appears to improve when he has a few overs under his belt. Given that there are also eight or nine ODIs between Edgbaston and Lord’s in which Jimmy is not certain to take part, I would certainly play him at Edgbaston. Broad is a slightly different story. He is a more integral part of the ODI side and can be expected to play in all of them. He also has a lot of past injuries, which Jimmy does not. I think England must give Finn a chance to show himself at Test level and resting Broad would be a good way to do that for a Test.

Whoever plays, I expect another comfortable win for England. There is simply a massive gulf between the two sides and I don’t think the West Indies can overcome it. There have been positive signs from them at least, perhaps in another four or eight years we will have a proper contest again.

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