LONDON-England got an early reality check in the series after West Indies put in an all-round performance to go 1-0 up in the series in Southampton.

England and West Indies are dealing with contrasting feelings as they head into the second Test match in Manchester on Thursday. While West Indies last won the first Test of an overseas series against a top nation [excluding Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan] before this 13 years back, England have lost the first Test of each of their last five series. In a queer way, England are familiar with dealing with losses in the first Test and West Indies are unfamiliar with being the team leading the series going into the second Test.

On the personnel front, England have regular skipper Joe Root making a return in place of Joe Denly. Both Mark Wood and James Anderson have been rested while Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes have been named in the 13-member squad.

West Indies, on the other hand, appeared well settled with their playing XI. However, they do have concerns surrounding the form of their 2017 hero, Shai Hope. Nkrumah Bonner could be handed a debut if they decide to keep Hope on the bench. They could also bring in Rahkeem Cornwall to give Chase some support in the spin department and move Jason Holder up the order in the batting line-up.

The last series between these sides happened in West Indies and once again England were playing catch-up after a loss in Bridgetown in the first Test. England went on to lose the second Test in North Sound and conceded the series to the hosts. While they won the dead rubber in Gros Islet, it was pretty clear that West Indies were the better unit in those conditions.

In the series prior to that in 2017 in England, West Indies lost the first Test by a whopping margin only to stun the hosts in the second Test at Headingley. They lost the third Test to concede the series then, but appear to be a well-rounded, better unit this time around.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes said: “I can see why Joe [Root] loses a lot of sleep because he’s got to do that every game. I’ve really enjoyed the responsibility of leading the team and making decisions out there.”

West Indies captain Jason Holder said: “It’s a massive, massive win. To beat England in England is no easy feat. We were able to do it last time we were here in 2017 so we all know what the feeling is like but things have changed drastically since then. They’re a massive unit in their backyard so to start the series this well is very promising for us and we feel proud about the way we performed.”

The pitch at Old Trafford has historically been good for batting but its pace is something that has always kept the fast bowlers interested. First inning runs are the key in Manchester as batting continues to get difficult as the games wear on. The last three games have all been won by sides batting first. Overall, 30 games out of 79 have been won by the sides batting first.

There is a lot of rain [70% chance] predicted in Manchester in the lead-up to the Test match but thankfully, it is expected to be dry on Thursday, even though it could still remain overcast. According to the forecast, the temperatures are expected to fluctuate between 14-18 degrees celsius, the humidity could hover around 82?.


ENGLAND: Joe Root (capt), Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.

WEST INDIES: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder (capt), Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel.