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England v West Indies

Combined XI: Wisden’s England-West Indies team of the series

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner 3 minute read

Ben Gardner picks out a combined England-West Indies team based on how the players got on in the Test series between the sides.

The openers

Rory Burns: 3 Tests, 234 runs @ 46.80, 2 fifties, HS: 90

Dom Sibley: 3 Tests, 226 runs @ 45.20, 2 fifties, 1 100, HS: 120

After his second Test epic, Dom Sibley was a shoo-in. Coming into the third Test, Kraigg Brathwaite had nudged ahead of Rory Burns, with two fifties to the latter’s none and narrative of how he’d overcome his struggles helping his cause. Contrasting last games, however, have forced the Englishman in, with Burns ending second on the overall run charts. John Campbell, of course, is nowhere near.

The middle order

Joe Root: 2 Tests, 130 runs @ 43.33, 1 fifty, HS: 68*

Shamarh Brooks: 3 Tests, 195 runs @ 32.50, 2 fifties, HS: 68

Ben Stokes: 3 Tests, 363 runs @ 90.75, 1 100, 1 fifty, HS: 176, 9 wickets @ 16.33, BBI: 4-49

Jermaine Blackwood: 3 Tests, 211 runs @ 35.16, 2 fifties, HS: 95

Unless you get funky and move someone up or done, Joe Root is the only option at No.3 after his astute captaincy and fleet-footed 68 in the third Test. Zak Crawley’s 76 in the first game was his only score of note, and he was left out for the third, and Joe Denly and Shai Hope aren’t in the frame.

Similarly, Shamarh Brooks gets in at No.4 with little competition. But that’s not to say he doesn’t deserve it, as the most permanent West Indies batsman on show and the Amla-lite class he offers. Roston Chase’s solid but unspectacular all-round series might ordinarily give him a chance of a batting berth, were he not competing with Ben Stokes, who had one of the great Tests to level up the series. And Jermaine Blackwood edges out Ollie Pope for putting England to the sword once more at Southampton, giving West Indies hope in the second Test, and being unmissable whenever he picks up a bat.

The wicketkeeper

Jos Buttler: 3 Tests, 151 runs @ 30.20, 1 fifty, HS: 67, 12 catches

Shane Dowrich started well, but tailed off as soon as England figured out his short-ball weakness. A tough series behind the stumps ended in the worst possible way, as a wobbling bouncer from Shannon Gabriel smashed into his cheek. Jos Buttler also wasn’t without blemish with the gloves, but a succession of valuable, if inconclusive knocks earn him his spot.

The quicks

Jason Holder: 3 Tests, 10 wickets @ 30.10, 1 five-for, BBI: 6-42, 114 runs @ 22.80, HS: 46
Stuart Broad: 2 Tests, 16 wickets @ 10.93, 1 five-for, BBI: 6-31, 73 runs @ 73
Chris Woakes: 2 Tests, 11 wickets @ 16.63, 1 five-for, BBI: 5-50, 1 run @ 0.50

Oddly, for a series of, in essence, four-day Tests which saw some spectacular spurts of fast bowling, no seamer put together a whole body of work over the three games to demand inclusion. Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad are both shoo-ins, despite missing the first game, and then you’ve got to pick one of Jason Holder or Shannon Gabriel, imposing in the first but ineffective thereafter. Wisden have gone for Holder, for his slightly better average and handy cameos. Broad bats above Woakes.

The spinner

Roston Chase: 10 wickets @ 34.00, 1 five-for, BBI: 5-172, 157 runs @ 26.16, 1 fifty, HS: 51

If there were a plethora of quicks to choose from, you’d be tempted to go all pace, given Dom Bess was largely a spectator and West Indies didn’t pick a specialist for the first two Tests. But there aren’t, and Roston Chase does, in the end, do enough to get in, for doing alright with the bat, taking another five-for against England, and having Rory Burns on a leash.

Wisden’s England-West Indies combined XI

1. Rory Burns
2. Dom Sibley
3. Joe Root (c)
4. Shamarh Brooks
5. Ben Stokes
6. Jermaine Blackwood
7. Jos Buttler (wk)
8. Roston Chase
9. Jason Holder
10. Stuart Broad
11. Chris Woakes

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