The Cricketer
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LORD'S PREVIEW: ENGLAND AND WEST INDIES SET FOR SERIES SHOWDOWN

Lord's hosts final Test of the summer

And just like that, the last Test of the summer is upon us. Six have gone before it, England have won four convincingly, lost one heavily and been on the receiving end of one of the more impressive and uplifting Test performances in recent times as West Indies rolled back the years at Headingley.

Nobody gave Jason Holder’s team a cat in hell’s chance of responding as they did in Leeds. When the fixture list was released, West Indies at Lord’s may have been considered a damp squib to end the summer. Yet here we are, Wisden Trophy still being fought over, Ashes places on the line.

If their Headingley heroics are to be considered one of the greatest Test upsets of all time, to follow it up with a win at Lord’s to secure a first series win in England since 1988 would be a mammoth effort.

This third and final match of the series starts on Thursday and will be the first time a Lord’s Test has started in September.

Trio bid for Ashes trip

Perform and you are going to Australia. That will be the message to Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan. All have impressed in spells but none have made an imperious case as yet. Malan – who now has fifties in consecutive Test matches – and Stoneman who registered his maiden half-century at Headingley, look best placed to be included in England’s Ashes squad. Essex’s Westley, conversely, seems to be on a downward curve. Having scored 25, 59 and 29 in his first three innings, the No.3 has failed to reach double figures in four subsequently. England tend to offer players one Test too many, rather than one too few, which will see Westley play at Lord’s.

Westley is under pressure but it only takes one decent knock to be back in the frame

Which West Indies will turn up?

We have been treated to the Jekyll and Hyde West Indies act so far. Holder’s team were a sorry sight at Edgbaston, they were glittering at Headingley. Lord’s should reveal which of the previous results was an anomaly. Headingley was an inspiriting victory for West Indies and indeed Test cricket, but Lord’s and beyond will determine whether it will go down as a singular act of resurgence or lead to something more replete.

History-maker: Shai Hope was imperious at Headingley

Roland-Jones returns

West Indies have provided a sterner test than expected, English batsman were supposed to fill their boots and board the plane to Australia with a comforting weight of runs under their belts. And although it should be assumed no team are underestimated at the top level of international cricket, the Lord’s Test may have been pinpointed as a chance to shuffle the pack if the series was won. 

Instead, England will not rest any key players with the series on the line and the in-form Toby Roland-Jones returns in place of Chris Woakes. The Warwickshire man looked a yard or two short with the ball on his return at Headingley, taking 2 for 122 in the match. He is undoubtedly a key member of this England squad, but if he isn’t fit, Warwickshire may be the best place for him to regain sharpness, thus allowing Roland-Jones to play a first Test match on his home ground.

This also means that Mason Crane may well be included in the Ashes squad with no Test caps to his name. The Hampshire spinner got a taste of the action as a sub fielder in the second Test - taking a sharp catch to remove Roston Chase in the second innings – but the first Test cap will have to wait.

Crane made to wait for maiden Test cap

Jimmy on the verge of 500

If Jimmy Anderson takes the three wickets needed to reach 500 in Tests he will do so at the same venue Glenn McGrath achieved that magnificent milestone. It was 2005; the Australian legend had Marcus Trescothick caught by Justin Langer at slip, the first of a five-wicket haul for the metronomic seamer as the Baggy Greens romped to victory in the first Ashes Test. Anderson will become the sixth man overall to achieve the feat and do so in the same number of Tests as West Indies great Courtney Walsh.

Anderson set to become sixth to reach 500 Test wickets

Teams

England: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Toby Roland-Jones, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

West Indies (possible): Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich†, Jason Holder*, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel.

Devendra Bishoo bowled just six overs in the first innings at Headingley and with Roston Chase’s useful offspin available, West Indies may look to include an extra seamer at his expense.

Weather

As it stands the Lord's forecast is showing rain delays should be expected on Friday and Sunday.

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England name white-ball squads for upcoming series.