Wisden’s writers predict the scoreline and the leading run-scorers and wicket-takers from either side in the upcoming England v West Indies Test series.
England v West Indies Test series scoreline
Jo Harman, Wisden Cricket Monthly magazine editor: England 3-0 West Indies
If my prediction is correct then England will have won six consecutive Test matches for the first time since 2010, which shows just how hard it is to pull that off, and very possibly how likely it is that I’m going to be proved wrong. But while I expect the Windies quicks to have some success against England’s top order, I can’t see their batsmen putting enough runs on the board to seriously trouble the hosts.
Phil Walker, WCM editor-in-chief: England 2-1 West Indies
England to win the series but drop a match, the third, with an afternoon collapse against a rampaging battery of quicks that promise much throughout the summer. No one minds too much.
Ben Gardner, Wisden.com managing editor: England 3-0 West Indies
If West Indies are to win one, it will be the first, yanking the rug out from under a Root-less, rusty home side. If they don’t it could get ugly, considering the West Indies batting line-up includes not a single player with a batting average over 35 and will be tasked with facing a bowling attack forced to leave out one of Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Mark Wood.
Sam Dyer, Wisden.com staff writer: England 2-1 West Indies
Familiarity with surroundings will be key. England will utilise their experience well in Southampton, where they have the benefit of several weeks of training and getting used to the ground conditions, and West Indies will do the same in the first Test at Old Trafford. But come crunch time, I think home advantage will make the difference. A five-wicket haul for Jimmy to tip the series in England’s favour.
England’s leading run-scorer
JH: Ben Stokes
England’s form batsman of the last 12 months and he’ll relish the added responsibility of captaincy in the first Test.
PW: Ben Stokes
Stokes looked in obscenely good nick last week, and will want to mark his captaincy stint with a classic. Only boredom, and the lack of a crowd, can hold him back, but he’s savvy enough to know that, and he won’t take too kindly to being lazily written off as captain material ostensibly because other all-rounders in previous eras weren’t very good at it. He will feel, weirdly, like he has a point to prove.
BG: Ollie Pope
There will doubtless be inroads made into the top order, and Ben Stokes can’t do it all every time. At No.6 on stodgy pitches against a saliva-starved ball and with talent to burn, Pope could make hay.
SD: Rory Burns
A solid career to date, this series represents a great chance for Burns to cement himself as England opener for years to come.
West Indies’ leading run-scorer
JH: Jermaine Blackwood
Blackwood has been tearing it up in domestic cricket and playing England seems to bring the best out of him.
PW: Shai Hope
Hope meanwhile has had a maddeningly lopsided career at Test level. Those Headingley masterpieces of three years ago were meant to set him up for a proper run. Oddly they remain his only Test hundreds, but he has the technique and patience to survive and prosper in England. And he’s only 26; a top-notch ODI opener now (averaging north of 50), it’s surely just a matter of time before all that class flows into the big stuff.
BG: Shamarh Brooks
Brooks’ last two Test knocks were an underrated century against Afghanistan and a forlorn fifty against India. It’s not much to go on, but in a misfiring West Indies batting line-up, it’s enough to convince me to back him for this series.
SD: Shai Hope
Hope is yet to really crack Test cricket – his only two Test centuries coming in the famous 2017 Headingley win. His white-ball record shows he has the ability to succeed in international cricket, and I think the time has come he will show that in red ball cricket too.
England’s leading wicket-taker
JH: James Anderson
Tough to say given that England will rotate their seamers with three Tests in quick succession but Anderson on English soil has been the stuff of nightmares for the West Indies.
PW: James Anderson
Because he’ll will himself to it, and demand to play all three, and bowl more than strictly necessary, and exploit the dampness in the air and not mind too much that the pitches will be unlived-in and lifeless.
BG: James Anderson
My gut says they’ll pick him for the first, and when he cleans up they won’t be able to leave him out, even if they want to.
SD: Jofra Archer
Fired up to face the West Indies, and coming off a nice long rest, I’m backing Archer to be bowling thunderbolts. Every chance of him taking 20 wickets in the series.
West Indies’ leading wicket-taker
JH: Jason Holder
Averaging 14 with the ball since the start of 2018, Holder leads from the front in every respect.
PW: Kemar Roach
Because he bowls well in England, is fit, experienced, sensibly slower than the tearaway years, and consistently underappreciated.
BG: Shannon Gabriel
The quickest of West Indies’ bowlers by a margin, and that will be more of a factor this time around than it would otherwise be in England.
SD: Kemar Roach
With the lure of passing 200 Test wickets to get him going (he needs just seven more), I expect Roach to get off to a flyer and keep that momentum going right through the series.