England fret over fast-bowling combination, middle order as Joe Root returns while James Anderson is 'rested' for second Test

Hosts have issues in every department ahead of Manchester Test against West Indies

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It seemed as though England's inconsistent Test side had turned a corner when they won away in South Africa last winter.

As fine a success as that was, the evidence of the first Test of the Wisden series against West Indies suggests plenty more solutions still need to be found.

With the home team 1-0 down in the three-match lockdown series, changes will definitely be made ahead of Thursday’s second Test in Manchester. But who is going to be giving way to whom?

Fast bowling

Stuart Broad has been told not to assume he will walk back into the side straight after missing his first home Test in eight years.

But it would be folly to leave him out, just as it was to overlook him in the first place.

Mark Wood and James Anderson, each of whom had relatively modest returns in the first Test and have had injury problems in the recent past, will both be rested.

Jofra Archer had a mixed game at the Ageas Bowl, but is likely to retain his place at a ground which should aid his pace bowling.

He was down on speed in the first innings of the opener, but responded to an online spat with former West Indies quick Tino Best with a ferocious performance on the final day.

Uncapped Ollie Robinson and Sam Curran have been brought into the squad, as has Chris Woakes.

Verdict: Archer, Broad, Sam Curran to play, Anderson and Wood rest.

Middle-order batting

One guarantee for England is that Joe Root will return to take up the captaincy after the birth of his second child, and bat at four. He has already announced that will be in favour of Joe Denly, with Zak Crawley retaining his place.

It is tempting to say Denly batted like a condemned man in the opening game. But he has always carried the air of a troubled soul when batting for England, even on good days.

His young county colleague Crawley cut a complete contrast, with a breezy half-century when his side were under the cosh in the second innings.

The irony is that Crawley may now have ended the international career of his close friend, who even presented him with his England cap when he debuted last winter.

Verdict: Crawley in, Denly out.


The return of Dom Bess was a boon for England in South Africa. And he was not entirely unproductive in the first Test, either, with two first innings wickets.

The make up of the opposition batting line up might encourage a rethink of his role as No 1 spinner, though.

West Indies have just one left-hander in their batting line up, John Campbell, and he might be forced out by a toe injury, anyway.

Campbell’s potential replacement, 22-year-old Joshua Da Silva, is right-handed, too.

As such, the left-arm spin of Jack Leach may be a more threatening option for England.

Verdict: Bess retains his place for the second Test, but Leach should be considered for the finale.


After 42 matches and six years, Jos Buttler appears no clearer on how he needs to go about Test-match batting.

It stands to reason England want to give him every chance to prove himself.

His rare talent is evidenced by the fact he could already be considered perhaps the country’s greatest white-ball cricketer ever.

But Ben Foakes must be wondering when his chance will come again.

He is widely regarded as the best gloveman available, while he averages more with the bat than Buttler in both Tests and first-class cricket.

Like Leach, Foakes is not part of the named Test squad, but is one of the reserves who have travelled to Manchester.

Verdict: Buttler retains his place for now, but Foakes deserves a recall.