Mark Wood felt England's bowlers tried a little too hard as they struggled to break down West Indies on day two of the first Test in Antigua.

England lost their final four wickets in relatively short order, though Jonny Bairstow reached 140 to take them past 300 for the first time since August 2021, and were then put on the backfoot by the hosts.

Kraigg Brathwaite (55) and John Campbell (35) put on 83 for the first wicket before England fought back to reduce the Windies to 127-4.

But, on a day truncated by rain, Jason Holder (43 not out) and Nkrumah Bonner (34 not out) reached stumps having put on an unbroken stand of 75 to push the Windies to 202-4, a deficit of 109 runs.

Bemoaning England's inability to make earlier inroads, Wood told Sky Sports News: "I don't think it's about being patient.

"We set higher standards than just being patient - we're out here to win and to play for England. If we're expecting in five or six Test matches' time that will be the answer, it won't.

"As can happen with any bowler, we just didn't get it right at the start and maybe we tried a bit too hard.

"With the void of [Jimmy] Anderson and [Stuart] Broad, maybe we wanted to try a bit hard and prove we can do it as a group.

"Maybe that was it, but I just don't think we started well and the way we came back I think showed good character as a group.

"We fielded well, we had good intensity there, so there were bits of play where I think we did really well.

"It's obviously going to be talked about, Anderson and Broad, because they are legends, but we just have to admit we didn't get it right to start with and we'll be out to get it right next time."

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite and former skipper Jason Holder put them in a strong position to claim a first-innings lead in the first Test with England.

After finally dislodging the determined Jonny Bairstow and bowling England out for 311 on day two, the Windies risked wasting a strong start to their first innings.

Brathwaite (55) and John Campbell (35) put on 83 for the first wicket but the Windies subsequently slumped to 127-4 as England made belated inroads.

Yet the tourists' attack was frustrated by Holder and Nkrumah Bonner, who reached stumps after a final session truncated by rain having put on an unbroken stand of 75 to push the Windies to 202-4, a deficit of 109 runs.

England added 43 runs to their overnight score, their feat of surpassing 300 one that has all been too rarely achieved by Joe Root's team in recent times.

Frequently frustrated as England's day-one resistance stiffened, fast bowler Jayden Seales ended Bairstow's partnership with Chris Woakes (28) at 71, and it was he and Alzarri Joseph who polished off the tail, the latter dismissing Bairstow for 140 to bring the innings to a close.

Brathwaite quickly set about laying the foundation for a strong Windies reply, his 50 coming off just 62 balls before he chased a wide one from Mark Wood and was caught at gully by Craig Overton, who earlier had Campbell caught behind.

Shamarh Brooks (18) and Jermaine Blackwood (11) each went cheaply, however, Bonner and the ex-captain left England searching for answers when stumps were forced to be called by the inclement weather, the defiant all-rounder Holder seven runs shy of a 12th Test half-century.

England back in 300 club

Thanks to Bairstow's outstanding performance, England got to 300 for the first time since their win over India at Headingley in August last year. It is a drought Root and Co. will be eager to put behind them by producing more assured performances with the bat in 2022.

Holder in ominous form

Two of Holder's three Test centuries have come against England. His ability to convert a start in this contest into another hundred may play a large role in deciding who prevails in Antigua.

Veteran West Indies Women’s spinner and vice-captain Anisa Mohammed has hailed the match-changing impact of all-rounder Deandra Dottin on the back of the team’s second straight win at the ICC Women’s World Cup.

By her normal standards, Dottin has had an average start to the tournament with the bat, scoring just 43 in two matches.  An abundance of caution in regard to a recent shoulder injury also means the player has not bowled a lot of overs either.  Despite that, however, Dottin has a knack for showing up when her team needs her.

On Wednesday, with England off to a solid start in pursuit of a below-par West Indies score of 225 for 6, Dottin flew high, at full stretch and with one hand, to pluck a hard cut shot from opener Laura Winfield-Hill out of the sky and give the team a crucial breakthrough.

In the team’s first match, against New Zealand, with the hosts needing just six in the last over Dottin, who had not bowled for the whole match, demanded the ball and promptly took two wickets and effected a run out to secure a dramatic win for the team.

“Deandra is one of the persons that set a high standard for herself in whatever aspect of the game she plays…I think that was a crucial moment in the game,” Mohammed told members of the media.

“Deandra is a game-changer, whether it is with bat or ball or in the field.  It was a spectacular catch and I know we can expect more from Deandra.”

A cracking half-century from Shemaine Campbelle and a decisive late-match spell from experienced spinner Anisa Mohammed propelled the West Indies Women to a narrow 7-run win over England and a second straight win at the ICC Women’s World Cup.

In a game that featured several swings in momentum, England seemed on course for victory after Sophie Ecclestone and Kate Cross combined to put on 61 for the ninth wicket.

In the last three overs, England needed just nine runs for victory and still had two wickets in hand.  In the 48th over Eccelstone went after Mohammed who missed a return catch but inadvertently run out Cross at the non-striker's end.  The experienced Anya Shrubsole was then bowled by the spinner to leave England all out on 218 and set off jubilant celebrations.

In their turn at the crease, the West Indies were off to an excellent start and seemed set for a big target with openers Hayley Matthews (45) and Deandra Dottin (31) putting 81 on the board, with 58 of those runs coming during the opening powerplay.

England spinner Ecclestone, however, was introduced into the attack with great effect and turned the match on its head during an eventful 21st over as the West Indies lost three wickets in five deliveries.

Matthews was the first to go after edging Ecclestone to Anya Shrubsole and Dottin was run out three balls later, courtesy of some excellent fielding from the experienced Danni Wyatt.

The West Indies then lost skipper Stafanie Taylor first ball as Ecclestone gave England the ascendancy, but Campbelle and Chedean Nation (49*) launched a furious fightback with an impressive 123-run stand for the fifth wicket.  

Campbelle eventually fell to Nat Sciver in the penultimate over, but the West Indies had recovered sufficiently from a mid-innings collapse eventually ending with a score of 225 for 6.  Ecclestone ended with figures of 3 for 20.

The win moved the Caribbean team up to second in the table, while England will have plenty of work to do if they are to repeat their 2017 heroics.

 

Jonny Bairstow scored a fine century to lift England on day one of the first Test with West Indies.

Having won the toss and elected to bat in Antigua, it looked like being an all too familiar tale for a frequently fragile England line-up.

The tourists' top order collapsed to leave England 48-4 inside 16 overs, however, Bairstow (109 not out) led the rebuilding effort to ensure they got valuable first-innings runs on the board.

It was his eighth century in the longest format and first against the Windies, his success in surviving the first 10 overs with the second new ball meaning England are well placed to put themselves in an even more favourable position on day two after reaching 268-6 at stumps.

Such a scenario appeared unlikely when Kemar Roach quickly removed debutant Alex Lees (4) and opening partner Zak Crawley (8) was caught behind off Jayden Seales.

England looked in dire straits after Joe Root (13) was caught in two minds and bowled by Roach, with Dan Lawrence failing to build on a start as he went for 20 caught at second slip off Jason Holder.

The foundation for England's response was laid by Bairstow and Ben Stokes (36), who put on 67 before the latter thick-edged Seales on to leg stump, with Ben Foakes then adding 42 in his first Test since last year's tour of India in a sixth-wicket stand of 99.

Foakes was pinned lbw to break that partnership but the wicket of Bairstow, who deviated superbly between attack and defence in facing 216 balls, consistently punishing wide deliveries, proved elusive.

There were shades of the SCG in January as he wildly celebrated a richly deserved century and, with Bairstow and Chris Woakes (24 not out) bringing up a 50 partnership in the final over, England's hopes of gaining a better result than the draw they claimed in Sydney will be increasing.

Bairstow is England's glue once again

Having missed England's fifth Test with Australia in Hobart, Bairstow made it back-to-back hundreds in the longest format by following up his Sydney effort with another shining performance.

Sustained partnerships have been tough to come by for England in recent times, but when they have put them together, Bairstow has often been involved. Indeed, five of the last seven 50 partnerships for England have included Bairstow.

Windies face brick wall

The Windies would have hoped to make inroads with the second new ball in the final overs of the day. They failed to do so. The last 10 overs saw England add 33 runs without loss, and there will surely be concern among the hosts over how they let a seemingly dominant position slip.

West Indies fast bowler, Chinelle Henry, insists the team is determined to take things one game at a time after a dizzying start to the ICC Women's World Cup, which saw them net a thrilling win over hosts New Zealand.

On the back of a fine century from opener Hayley Matthews and crunch-death bowling from all-rounder Deandra Dottin, the team snatched a narrow 3-run win over the Kiwis in their first match. 

The Windies return to action Tuesday, at 5:00 pm, for the first time since that game, and Henry insists they will head into the contest grounded and focused on the task at hand.  England will be looking to get on the board after losing their first encounter against Australia.

“For us, it really is game by game. That first game against New Zealand - Yes, we had discussions with the coaching staff. We had discussions with everybody - but as a team, you know going out there we just had the discussions among ourselves that doesn't matter what happened,” Henry said on Monday.

“We just have - once everybody takes up the responsibility that I am going to do it for the team, then collectively we will just - we all will do it for the team. And I think that's the mentality we have brought into this team going into this World Cup - that if every single player put up their hand and be like, okay, today's my day, then when all 11 players come together collectively, we will and can beat anything.”

A former member of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) has been ordered to play former West Indies cricketer Dinanath Ramnarine US$122,768.85 in damages for a 2016 Facebook post, which was found to be libelous.

Rafi Ali who was president of the Esmeralda Cricket Club and a nominated member of the TTCB made the comments while Ramnarine was a member of the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago.

In addressing the matter, Master of the High Court Martha Alexander insisted that Ali acted deliberately, jeeringly, and maliciously.  She believed the judgment would “serve to caution any defendant who uses Facebook or any other social media platform to libel and destroy a claimant’s reputation that he will feel the punitive arm of the court acting to deter such behaviour.”

She added that Ali’s Facebook statement was posted to destroy Ramnarine’s reputation.

“And the court must send a message that such reckless abuse of social media platforms must stop.  The defendant before this court will not be allowed to use Facebook to boost his popularity at the claimant’s expense or ‘to sell another man’s reputation for profit.”

The fees amounted to US$114,382 in damages, plus interest and an additional US$8,386 in legal fees.

Tuesday marks the start of the three-Test Apex series between the West Indies and England. The visitors have not won a Test series in the Caribbean since their3-0 triumph in 2004, the same series in which Brian Lara scored a world record 400 not out in the fourth Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

In 2019, when the teams last met in the Caribbean, the hosts secured a 2-1 series win and West Indies head coach Phil Simmons wants his team to keep the trend alive.

“We’re looking to play the cricket that we know will put us in a position to win the series. We’re trying to make sure we’re ready for everything England can throw at us,” the Trinidadian head coach said during a pre-match press conference on Monday while indicating that it will critical for the hosts to build strong opening partnerships when they bat.

In that series, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell shared opening stands of 53, 52, 70, 17 not out, 57 and five and they will once again be entrusted with the responsibility.

“The last time we beat England here, the opening pair was Kraigg and John Campbell. Let’s hope that’s a good omen for us because they gave the team some good starts. We’ve been talking about getting a good start and making sure that the top four put things together and not leave it for the middle and lower order,” Simmons said.

“That’s been the focus of our camp leading up to this series. We need batsmen to bat long so the bowlers can have something to work with and I think the camp went well so I expect good things from them.”

The absence of James Anderson and Stuart Broad from the England team has been a big talking point ever since their squad was announced, but Simmons says he is more interested in who they do have.

“We keep harping on no Broad and Anderson but when you don’t have the experience, you have young players who are hungry to make their name and that is something that you have to guard against too. They have quality bowlers who we still have to bat well against,” he said.

Simmons also spoke about the importance of having one specialist spinner in their squad, Veerasammy Permaul.

“Your spinner, at least in the first couple of days, will always play that holding role. Permaul has been bowling really well so, hopefully, by the time we get to the fourth day he will come into play and possibly be a match-winner for us,” Simmons said.

Simmons also mentioned the conditions he expects at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

“It looks like it’s going to be a good wicket. We’re going to have to work hard for our runs but also work hard for our wickets,” he said.

At the conclusion of the Test match, the teams move on to the Kensington Oval in Barbados for the second Test set to start on March 16. The final Test is scheduled to be played at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada beginning on March 24.

 

 

 

 

Cricket icons Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham unveiled the new Richards-Botham trophy which will be won by the victors in Test Series between West Indies and England Men’s Team.

The trophy pays tribute to two all-time greats – whose rivalry and friendship embodies the close relationship and mutual respect between the two sides. The unveiling ceremony was held on Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua ahead of the first Apex Test match which starts on Tuesday, March 8.

The sparkling new trophy symbolizes “Courage. Friendship. Respect” – values that represent the Test cricketing rivalry between West Indies and England, and of two legends who best define them – Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham.

It has an ultra-modern design and consists of an upside-down cup, based on a Georgian rummer, with the joining sphere a cricket ball. One end is a rummer for drinking rum and the other a wine/ale goblet. The rummer has palm fronds and the ale cup has willow leaves. The ceremonial idea is that the winning team holding the trophy would have the rummer that represents their team face upward while they held it and it would be ceremoniously turned over when the other team wins.

Test matches between these two rivals date back to 1928 when West Indies made their first trip to England. The teams, under the captaincy of Kraigg Brathwaite and Joe Root, will renew the rivalry with the Apex Test Series.

“It’s a truly special feeling to have the fantastic trophy named in honour of my great friend Ian and myself. We played a lot together and built a great friendship on and off the cricket field,” said Sir Vivian. “As I said earlier, I am truly delighted to know that the game that I have shown my love for all my life is naming such a prestigious award in recognition of what I managed to achieve. It’s a beautiful trophy and I want to again thank everyone who came up with this idea and contributed to its creation."

Botham said he was honoured to have a trophy in his name.

“It’s a great idea and a truly lovely trophy. It really stands out and I’m honoured to have my name on the trophy alongside my friend Sir Viv,” he said.

“The captain who picks up the trophy at the end of the upcoming series will be a happy man.”

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite said he was eager to get going on Tuesday in what he expects to be a closely contested series.

“We’re really excited and ready for the upcoming Apex Test Series against England. This is going to be an amazing three weeks of cricket,” Brathwaite said.

“It’s extra special too that we’re playing for the new Richards-Botham trophy, a fitting tribute to these two great men. We want to be the first team to get our hands on it and celebrate with our fans.”

England’s captain Joe Root believes the trophy named in honour of the two greats is a fitting tribute to the rivalry between the two teams.

“Test series between England and West Indies are iconic, and to have a trophy named after arguably the two most outstanding England and West Indies cricketers of all-time in Lord Ian Botham and Sir Vivian Richards is a fitting tribute for this great rivalry. We are enthused about the next month of competition, and we hope to make the England fans proud by lifting the Richards-Botham trophy,” he said.

The Apex Test Series will feature three Test matches. The first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the second Apex Test will be played at Kensington Oval, Barbados from March 16-20, with the climax in the third Apex Test at the Grenada National Stadium, Grenada on March 24-28

England seamer Ollie Robinson has been ruled out of the first Test against West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Robinson is struggling with a back spasm and has not recovered in time to play in Antigua.

The uncapped Saqib Mahmood has taken Robinson's place in a 12-man squad for the opening game in a three-match series.

Mark Wood had been feeling unwell this week, but the paceman has been included in the squad.

With James Anderson and Stuart Broad overlooked for the tour, the likes of Craig Overton and Mahmood will be determined to make their mark.

The tourists will name their side at the toss on Tuesday as they attempt to restore some pride following a 4-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia.

 

England squad for the first Test:

Joe Root (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

West Indies middle-order batsman Nkrumah Bonner insists the approach toward England will be the same despite the visitors missing two of their most experienced fast bowlers in Stuart Broad and James Anderson.

The duo was unexpectedly dropped for the tour of the Caribbean, albeit being England’s leading wicket-takers. Since 2004, Anderson has played 22 matches against the West Indies and taken 87 wickets, the most by any England player, 36 of those wickets have come in 10 matches in the Caribbean.  His best figures of 7 for 49 also came against the West Indies in 2017.

 Broad, who first featured against the West Indies in 2009, has gone on to take 73 wickets.  Despite the absence of the two dominant bowlers that have wreaked havoc in the team's batting line-up over the years, however, Bonner insists the team’s mental approach will not be different as the English still have plenty of firepower.

“It’s a Test match nevertheless, whether Anderson or Broad are playing.  Obviously, they still have quality bowlers and the same application is required,” Bonner told members of the media on Saturday.

“In every series, it’s the same approach and this one will be no different,” he added.

Bonner insists he is looking forward to the challenge of facing England.

“After coming from India, I played some four-day games in Barbados.  I was able to spend some time at the crease and obviously coming into this camp I’ve done a lot of hard work as well, and I’m looking forward to playing against England.  It will be an important series for us.”

 

 

Ben Stokes believes he let both himself and England down during the 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia.

The all-rounder, who averaged only 23.60 with the bat and took four wickets, said Joe Root’s side have taken some "hard lessons" from the chastening defeat Down Under.

Stokes helped to salvage a draw with a half-century in both innings in the fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but England suffered a brutal series hammering.

The vice-captain, who returned in Australia following a break to protect his mental health while also recovering from a finger injury, is determined to make amends in the upcoming series against West Indies.

"Looking back on Australia, we've had some honest reflections not only as a team but individuals as well," the 30-year-old said.

"I personally felt I let the team down with more than just performances, I would have liked to have been in better physical shape.

"When I look back on it, I felt I let myself down, but the thing that really grinds me the most and hurts me the most is that I let a lot of other people down and I never want to feel that way again. 

"Everyone's taken some good hard lessons from Australia."

England travelled to the Caribbean without legendary bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, while head coach Chris Silverwood lost his job after the drubbing in Australia.

Stokes is fully behind captain Joe Root and says there is no point discussing the absence of Anderson and Broad.

"It's not all on the captain. Joe is 100 per cent the man to lead this team forward, and I'll be right behind him every step of the way,” he added.

"There's obviously been a big change with Stuart and Jimmy [being dropped,] but, with all due respect to them, they're not here and what we can concentrate on are the guys who are, and the opportunity they now have.

"We have made a real effort to make sure that from the top, the most experienced guy, Joe, to the guys who haven’t even played yet, we are valued just as much as each other. 

"When it comes to guys who are about to make their debut or haven't played much, there is that extra responsibility on the senior guys to help them through that.

"I don't see it as a negative whatsoever. The only thing for us now is [to be] positive, because there were a lot of negatives in Australia and it was a s*** place to be."

The first Test in the three-match series against West Indies start in Antigua on Tuesday.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are the most successful pace bowling duo in the history of Test Cricket with 1,177 wickets in 321 matches between them.

Against the West Indies, the pair has 160 wickets in 41 matches. With that being said, many were surprised when the England squad for their three-match Test series against the Windies was announced with Broad and Anderson nowhere to be found.

West Indies pace bowler Kemar Roach was no exception.

“Quite surprising,” Roach said in a pre-match press conference on Saturday.

“I thought that both of them would definitely still be involved but decisions have been made on that end,” he added.

Obviously, the absence of the two is a big plus for the Caribbean side, a sentiment Roach also shared.

“I think it’s a slight advantage for us, obviously with those experienced players missing so there’s a hole for England to fill. Robinson, Wood, and Woakes are fantastic bowlers and we take them seriously but once we get our plans right, I think we’ll be in good shape going into this series.”

Since his debut in 2009, Roach has taken 231 wickets in Test cricket with England being his favourite opponent as 50 of those have come against them.

“For me, England is our biggest series. We play the most test matches against England, having three, so, at home, obviously, there’s a confidence factor and you want to perform well against England. I’m always looking to go hard and put on my best performances against them.”

Roach will, hopefully, have his chance to add to those 50 wickets when the teams square off in the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua starting on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies Women all-rounder Hayley Matthews is hopeful that a stunning upset of New Zealand to bowl off the ICC Women’s World Cup will give the team plenty of momentum moving forward.

In a magnificent player-of-the-match performance, Matthews put together a shot-filled 119 from 128 and claimed bowling figures of 2 for 41 to anchor the West Indies in a nail-biting 3-run win over the hosts.

Prior to the win, the team had not defeated New Zealand in the format since 2014 and it was only their second win in 7 meetings between the teams at the tournament.  The innings, her third ODI century and first at the World Cup, also represented a career run high for Matthews and was the team’s fourth-highest total at the World Cup.

For a team that few would have listed among the favourites, it was a solid start to the tournament.  

“It’s exactly what we were looking to come out here and do, get off to a really good start and hopefully we can carry this momentum into the rest of the tournament,” Matthews said, following the match.

Matthews seemed to be set to bat in the middle order for the World Cup, after several strong performances in that position heading into the tournament.  The player was, however, promoted back to the spot she had previously occupied after an injury to Rashada Williams.

“I didn’t know how I felt about it at first, seeing I was pretty comfortable at 5 but I’m the type of player that whatever the team needs, I’m looking to try and do.  It seemed to work out all right."

  

A brilliant century from Hayley Matthews and miraculous death bowling from Deandra Dottin led the West Indies Women to a stunning 3-run victory over New Zealand to open the ICC Women’s World Cup at Mount Maunganui on Friday.

In a wonderful advert for women's cricket, the all-around entertaining affair got the thrilling ending it merited.  With the West Indies needing to defend just 6 runs in the last over, Dottin, who has hardly been seen with the ball over the last few months, stepped up to take 2 for 2, and also effected a run-out, to finally wrap up brave New Zealand resistance in her only over of the match. 

The result meant the West Indies had successfully defended 259 for 9, their third-highest total ever recorded at the tournament.

Earlier, a brilliant 119 of 128 from Matthews, who was named the player of the match, set the stage for the West Indies triumph.  Unexpectedly returning to the top of the order after Rashada Williams was ruled out of the match due to concussion protocol, Matthews hit 16 fours and a six, dispatching New Zealand’s bowlers to all parts of the ground while proving to be the stable catalyst the West Indies needed.

Dottin, who opened with Matthews, had promised a similar type of performance but was sent packing after hitting three fours and skying another attempt to Jess Kerr after playing across the line off Lea Tahuhu. 

With Kycia Knight then departing for just 5, Matthews formed a crucial 66-run partnership with captain Stafanie Taylor, which helped the West Indies reach 100 at a steady five runs an over.  The partnership was broken when Taylor was caught behind after clipping off Tahuhu. 

It was, however, one only of three partnerships Matthews would be involved in as she also paired with Shemaine Campbelle and Chedean Nation to glue the team’s innings together. 

Matthews was eventually dismissed going after Kerr as Hannah Rowe held on to the catch in the deep.  Nation's 46-ball 36 and then Anisa Mohammed's six-ball 11, however, added valuable runs for the team at the end of the innings.  Tahuhu was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with 3 for 57, while Kerr claimed 2 for 43.

In pursuit, Sophie Devine struck a magnificent century to keep New Zealand's chase on track, for the most part, and Katey Martin and Kerr's quickfire 40-run partnership brought it down to run-a-ball for the last over before the timely intervention of Dottin.

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