Anderson and Wood left on sidelines
Broad set to be recalled for second Test against West Indies Batsman Denly dropped as captain Root makes his return
James Anderson and Mark Wood have been left out of England’s side for the second Test against West Indies starting today at Emirates Old Trafford.
Stuart Broad is expected to be recalled, and Joe Root, after missing the first Test through paternity leave, returns in place of Joe Denly. England lost the first Test and are facing the prospect of a first series defeat at home against the West Indies since 1988.
Omitting Anderson on his home ground is a particularly notable decision, especially as he claimed seven for 54 match figures in his last Test there, against South Africa in 2017.
Both he and Wood are officially being rested, with the intense schedule making it difficult for either to play three consecutive Tests. Neither was at their best in the first Test – Anderson claimed three wickets and Wood one.
If picked, Broad will have an immediate chance to restake his claims to being an automatic selection after declaring he was “angry, frustrated and gutted” to be dropped at the Ageas Bowl. Broad has taken 485 Test wickets and performed impressively in England’s series victory in South Africa over the winter.
He is expected to be joined by Chris Woakes in the team, although Sam Curran and the uncapped Ollie Robinson are also in England’s 13man squad. Curran played all six of England’s Tests over the winter, though he did not quite replicate his Test form of 2018. While his leftarm swing bowling makes him an attractive option – and his footmarks could assist Dom Bess’s offspin – Woakes is considered the marginal favourite to be selected.
England will assess conditions in the morning in Manchester, where early rain is forecast, before making a final decision on their side. Picking a four-pronged seam attack is possible, but considered unlikely.
Denly’s Test career appears to be over at the age 34. Zak Crawley will shift up to No3 after his impressive 76 at the Ageas Bowl. Root said that Denly had “helped show our identity as a side and the way we want to play moving forward” through his ability to bat time, but had been left out because of a failure to go on to bigger scores. Denly has passed 53 only three times in his 28 innings.
With Jos Buttler also under pressure, Root said he thought consistency of selection was important to enable players to fulfil their potential. “We have tried to be consistent because we know how difficult it can be when you’re given limited opportunity and it’s ‘if I don’t get a score in the first couple of games I’ll be out the team’,” he said, lending
his support to Buttler, despite an average of just 23.22 since the start of 2019.
“I just feel he’s not far away from grabbing Test cricket and running with it. I’ve seen big strides in terms of his technical game and we want him to find that balance and mindset he can have in white-ball cricket and add it to a technique and game that can thrive in Test cricket.”
Root said that missing the first Test was “quite hard in some ways” as he followed England’s fourwicket defeat from afar.
“It was hard to sit and watch every ball knowing you can’t affect things,” he said. “These times and the situation we find ourselves in, you have to do the right thing and away from the cricket side of things it was really special to have that week and a half with the family.”
England have lost four of their last six Tests with the West Indies. “We know they’re a very well-oiled bowling attack and have proved in recent contests between the teams that they’re more than capable of beating us, convincingly on occasions,” Root said. He drew strength from England’s come-from-behind series victory in South Africa.
“One thing we’ve always been good at is that when we’ve had difficult games and tough weeks, we’ve bounced back quickly and learnt lessons. I expect nothing different this time round.”
Root said he expected a strong response from Broad. “One thing you can guarantee with Stuart is when he gets his opportunity again, he will be desperate to prove a lot of people wrong and put in a really strong performance.”
The England captain is also hoping for an increase in his personal run-scoring after averaging fractionally under 40 since the start of 2018, a disappointing figure by his own high standards.
“There have been periods over the last year and a bit where I’ve been fighting my game a bit,” he said. “I’ve not been quite myself and at my fluent best. I’ve had a bit of time to take stock and look at my game and think of areas which I want to get absolutely right.”
West Indies captain Jason Holder said that, after their fine bowling display at the Ageas Bowl, his side were targeting more consistency with the bat. Opener John Campbell, who retired hurt in the second innings at the Ageas Bowl before returning to hit the winning run, is expected to be fit, with the West Indies set to name an unchanged side.
West Indies have not defeated any of the seven sides higher in the Test rankings away from home since beating New Zealand in 1995.
“I haven’t mentioned anything about history to the guys – it’s hard for us to get caught up in the peripheral stuff,” said Holder. “This series is still wide open.”