For the second day running, rain played spoilsport in what was the ‘comeback’ game for Cricket, but much to everyone’s surprise, it is West Indies who have the game under control after two days of action. Day 3 promises to be a cracker and it might very well shape the direction of the game. Here are our key predictions.
Brief Scores: West Indies 57/1 (John Campbell 28, Kraigg Brathwaite 20*, James Anderson 1/17, Ben Stokes 0/6) trail England 204 in 67.3 overs (Ben Stokes 43, Jos Buttler 35; Jason Holder 6/42, Shannon Gabriel 4/62) by 147 runs.
Weather forecast for Day 3
While rain did mar the second day’s play – just as it did the first – we did, however, get almost four times the number of overs as Day 1. A total of 69.2 overs were bowled on the second day at the Ageas Bowl and, on top of that, the two teams also made significant progress in the game. The good news is that the weather forecast for Day 3 of the encounter is pretty positive, as there is only a 10% chance of rain in Southampton on Friday. While we may quite not get the clear skies that the players and fans have been yearning for, unlike the first two days, rain is expected to stay away on the third day. Should the weather forecast be correct, then for the first time in this Test match, we might be looking at potentially getting a full day’s play.
Pitch report for Day 3
On each of the first two days of the Test, the fresh Ageas Bowl wicket offered plenty of assistance for the pacers – so much so that each of the 11 wickets that fell on the first two days were picked up by the quicker bowlers. Day 2, in particular, saw 10 wickets fall in just around 70 overs and, contrary to what many believed ahead of the Test, the saliva ban accounted for little. Both swing in the air and lateral movement off the wicket were available in abundance and the duo of Holder and Gabriel displayed a masterclass in taking advantage of suitable conditions. With the pitch still relatively fresh – under 100 overs have been bowled in the match – the conditions are expected to remain the same tomorrow, thus the prospect of abundant seam and swing might interest the English pacers. The expected overhead cloud cover might also play into the hands of the home side. And that may very well be the reason why they are still heavy favourites to win this Test. One thing to be noted, though, is that we are yet to see a single over of spin in this Test, so should Dom Bess get a chance to bowl tomorrow, it will be interesting to see how much of turn he’ll get; thus far, we have little idea of how much the wicket will suit the slower bowlers.
Having misfired for almost an entire year, Windies opener Kraigg Brathwaite, on Day 2, looked the best and the most assured he’s looked in months. Brathwaite did what he knows best – which is grind hard and frustrate the bowlers – and fended off the Archer-Anderson threat to remain unbeaten on 20* at stumps. The right-hander boasts of a healthy average in English conditions – 36.88 in 10 Tests – and thus, come Day 3, the visitors will be banking heavily on the ever-so-cool Brathwaite to help them overtake England’s first innings score. Given his experience and his impressive record in England, it is unsurprising that Sportsbet.io are favouring Brathwaite to be the Windies’ top scorer in the first innings.
He might be closer to 40 than he is to 35, but Anderson has gotten progressively better with age and we witnessed the same towards the end of Day 2. In what was a probing spell of swing bowling, Anderson tamed both Brathwaite and Campbell for the entirety of the 8 overs he bowled and eventually got a much-deserved reward in the form of Campbell’s wicket. With him being the only specialist pacer in this English side to have previously played a Test at the Ageas Bowl, Anderson has a plethora of experience with him and it goes unsaid that he will be the home side’s key man on Day 3; he was, by far, England’s stand out bowler on Day 2. Anderson has taken a remarkable 83 wickets in just 38 innings versus the Windies and on Day 3, it won’t be surprising if he takes that tally closer to 90.
When to watch: July 10, 3.30 PM IST
Where to watch: Sony Six, Sony Six HD and Sony LIV
In his last 14 innings in Test cricket, Shai Hope has scored over 24.5 runs in an innings just thrice and that number reduces to zero when you consider his last six innings. Furthermore, the right-hander has averaged an abysmal 20 in Test cricket in his last 17 Tests, since December 17, thus, despite him well-known for his heroics at Headingley some three years ago, all evidence points towards a failure for the No.3 batsman. Thus we, here at Sportsbet.io, predict Hope to get dismissed under 24.5 runs in the first innings on Day 3.
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