With Alex Hales not playing, Jason Roy came in and did really well on Wednesday, getting England off to a great start, chasing a huge West Indies total of 365. It was on his home ground, he was playing in familiar surroundings and you could just see he was nice and relaxed, slotting straight back into it.
Chris Woakes came up and bowled beautifully – it’s great to see him back, bowling at good speeds and he seems to have shaken off that side strain now. He did well to get the visitors down to 3 for 40 – if they held on to those catches, West Indies could have been gone for about 250!
Then again, we’ve said throughout the series that Evin Lewis has got a big score in him and what a wonderful knock that was – an AMAZING innings! He hit 176 and if he hadn’t have whacked the ball into his ankle and got stretchered off, he was looking at a double century – EASY!
To be fair to him, it was a very mature knock, because when they were 40 for 3 you were thinking ‘Crikey! This could be an early day’, but then he reined himself in and then went absolutely ballistic towards the end of the innings!
England will be disappointed with the way they didn’t finish the West Indies off, because they were teetering before Lewis came in and gave his side a life line. Our spinners didn’t bowl fantastically and we lost our way with the ball slightly, allowing them to get a big score, courtesy of guys like Holder who came in and hit 77, supporting Lewis along the way.
I read that Eoin Morgan has the best ODI batting record at The Rose Bowl, averaging 69.50 runs and he will be hoping his luck changes at the ground where he’s had so much success in the past. He’s got to get some runs in this final match and if you’re looking for a bit of a wildcard bet, Morgan is 5/1 to be England’s top run scorer, however, I’d be much more comfortable backing Root at 3/1, who’s also got a strong record at the ground and is in far better form.
As I mentioned, Woakesy looks like he’s coming back into a nice bit of form, so I like him at 3/1 to be England’s top wicket taker, as well as Rashid (3/1) and Plunkett (7/2), who both have solid records at the Hampshire ground.
England’s Ashes squad was announced yesterday and there have been a few surprise inclusions in there from my point of view.
Looking at the seamers, I think Liam Plukett can consider himself a bit unlucky, with the selectors opting for Overton who is a big, strong lad that can bowl at 85-90mph. They’ll be hoping he can come in and burst the pitch and, to be fair, you need those bowlers in Australia.
Vince has been recalled and they’re looking for him to bat at number 3. He had a go before and didn’t pull up any trees for England, but they’ve given him another shot so they’ve clearly seen something in him. Gary Balance makes a rerun as well, which is his third recall after breaking his thumb, not so long ago.
You just feel that that middle order is a bit weak, and in my opinion, they’ve taken a bit of a punt and really could have picked anyone.
I quite like the look of Mason Crane, who I’d call an ‘X-Factor bowler’, he’s been playing for New South Wales and has done quite well, getting a fifer at Sydney for them – it’s always good to have someone different up your sleeve, who can come in and change a game. Leg spinners usually do better than finger spinners in Oz but you can’t see him playing too many games – when called upon he could be a bit of a wild card.
There’s a lot of pressure on Cook and Root at the top of the order and I feel the onus will really be on these two guys to get big runs throughout the series. You need big first innings scores in Australia to get into the game – if you’re only getting 250/300, then more often than not, you’ve got an uphill battle on your hands!
Stoneman’s in there which is a good decision – he’s really impressed people and seems to have the right sort of attitude to warrant a call up and likes to put bat-to-ball as well.
I’m pleased to see Foakes in the side who’s had a very good year with Surrey. He’s a good keeper and batsman, so it’s nice to see he’s been rewarded for his strong performances.
It’s a very good side, but going to Australia is tough – it always is – and playing them in their back yard is a big challenge.
Alex Hales and Ben Stokes have been suspended by the ECB until further notice, for appearing in the headlines for the wrong reasons this week.
Stokes has got to address this now. It’s a massive wake up call for him and as a global superstar it’s probably not a good idea to be walking the streets of Bristol in the middle of a Series at silly O’clock in the morning. Unfortunately, a guy in his position will get challenged, and trouble often comes to find you when you’re in the public eye, so the best thing to do, is not put yourself in those situations in the first place.
He’s got to realise he’s not a young lad playing at Durham anymore – he’s the vice-captain of his country and with that comes certain lifestyle changes that need to be made because with status, comes the spotlight and responsibility.
The talent of Stokes is unquestionable and he’s such an integral part of England’s cricket set up, but as we’ve seen with sports stars in the past, sometimes they can be their own worst enemy.
I’m sure he’ll be very regretful about getting himself into the situation in the first place. Hopefully he’ll learn from this quickly and can then look forward to putting his name in the headlines for all the right reasons.
Before we start getting too excited about The Ashes though, we’ve still got a game of Cricket to play at the Rose bowl and at 2/11, I still can’t see past England, let’s finish this ODI on a high and then start looking towards taking on those Ozzies!
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.