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England v West Indies

Did England bowl Dom Bess enough on the final day of Southampton Test?

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

On the latest episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, the panel discussed whether Dom Bess was under-bowled by England on the fifth day of the Southampton Test against West Indies.

With the visitors chasing a target of 200 to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, Bess was brought into the attack by stand-in captain Ben Stokes in the 13th over, after Jofra Archer and Mark Wood had reduced West Indies to 27-3.

After a six-over spell, during which an lbw appeal against Roston Chase was overruled on umpire’s call, and a thick outside edge from Jermaine Blackwood was put down by Stokes, Bess was taken off.

Though the off-spinner returned for a four-over spell when Chase and Blackwood put on a partnership, in all, 10 overs were all he got in the fourth innings of the match.

Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief Phil Walker and Taha Hashim, the wisden.com features editor, had their say:

Taha Hashim: Now looking back on it, I think, maybe we could have seen a bit more of Dom Bess. I remember the first ball he bowled on the day turned quite a bit, probably didn’t see enough of him. But I think – it was something we were discussing off-air before – how he [Stokes] probably wanted a few more runs to play with to really give Bess a role where he holds an end the whole day. 200 wasn’t enough to have Dom Bess, who is still really inexperienced, to operate with men around the bat. But I still think we could’ve seen a bit more of him.

Phil Walker: I would agree with Taha, very much so, on the issue of Dom Bess, who bowled 10 overs for 30-odd. He was extremely unlucky the umpire’s call overruled an appeal against Roston Chase early on in the piece and if he had got that wicket, then perhaps he could have settled in. I thought they were a little bit too defensive with some of their fields with Bess.

When you are defending 200 you have two ways to go; you can try and stagnate the innings by keeping them to 2.5-3 an over, or you can try and squeeze them. I felt by posting a deep point straightaway, which well may have been Bess’ decision … by doing that, [they] let them get going against him and they could angle the face out into the covers and they could just milk him a little bit. I would have preferred to have seen them back Bess a little bit more. He turned a couple of deliveries quite appreciably, it was the fourth-day pitch rather than a fifth because obviously, we lost that first day. But aside from that, I don’t think they could have done much more really.

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