England vs West Indies Preview & Prediction | 1st Test

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It is the first Test of the summer at grand, old Lord’s but this week will be dominated by the retirement of James Anderson. Whether it is the correct decision for him to be given the nudge or not, the Lancastrian will be given an emotional send off in London as he prepares to depart the Test arena on the ground where he entered it all the way back in 2003 against Zimbabwe.

DATE/TIME: Wednesday 10th July, 2024 – UK – 11:00am / INDIA – 3.30pm / US EST – 6:00am / US PST – 3:00am

VENUE: Lord’s, London, England

WEATHER: Day 1 – 18c or 64.4 F rising to 22c or 71.6 with sun and some clouds / Day 2 – 17c or 62.6 F rising to 22c or 71.6 with sun and some clouds / Day 3 – 16c or 60.8 F rising to 17c or 62.6 F with cloud expected / Day 4 – 14c or 57.2 rising to 18c or 64.4 F with cloud expected / Day 5 – 16c or 60.8 F rising to 20c or 68 F with cloud expected

HOW TO WATCH ON TV: UK – Sky Sports / INDIA – Sony Sports / US – Willow TV

HOW TO WATCH ONLINE: UK – SkyGo / INDIA – Sony LIV / US – Willow TV

ENGLAND FORM: OH JIMMY, JIMMY

The Barmy Army will chant to England’s greatest ever bowler one last time in this match but it is the start of an important 18-month cycle for England. We are at the half-way stage of the Brendon McCullum four-year contract and it has been an impressive first two years but the 4-1 defeat in India in the spring means they haven’t won a multi-game Test series since defeating Pakistan 3-0 in December 2022.

Jamie Smith will debut for England as they look to move away from Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes as their keeper-batters. Smith’s excellent form for Surrey, albeit often not playing as the gloveman, sees him at seven behind a very strong English top six. Chris Woakes returns to the side, whilst Gus Atkinson will also make his Test debut in a bowling attack that boasts Shoaib Bashir as the frontline spinner following his promising tour of India.

LAST FIVE: LLLLW

WEST INDIES FORM: THE LATEST ‘NEW’ WEST INDIAN GENERATION

The West Indies arrive on English shores with another crop of talented bowlers looking to make hay whilst the clouds hover above Lord’s this week. Shamar Joseph couldn’t have wished for a better start to his Test career with his seven-fer giving the Windies a famous win against Australia at the start of this year. His emergence has made many forget that the real leader of this attack should be the impressive Jayden Seales, especially in the absence of Kemar Roach.

It should not be forgotten, though, that the Windies’ victory against Australia, to level that two-match series at 1-1, could not have been achieved without the impressive resilience of some young and emerging batters such as Alick Athanaze and Kirk McKenzie. England is a tough place to bat and go big’ so this is another major learning curve for those players, skippered by Kraigg Brathwaite, who will play his 90th
Test match this week.

LAST FIVE: WLDLL

ENGLAND BETTING ANALYSIS

England played at Lord’s twice last year. The first time saw them dismantle Ireland and score 524-4 in just 82.4 overs. Their aggressive style of cricket continued against Australia when they were set and going well in the second Ashes Test before naively succumbing to short ball tactics from Pat Cummins’ attack. However, with a promising but inexperienced Windies attack, lessons should have been learned and England to have the highest opening partnership (8/13) with the first over going for over 1.5 runs (5/6) if they bat first seeming very likely, as the odds suggest.

It would be daft to not mention Anderson in his final Test on the ground where he has picked up more wickets than anybody else. The Burnley-born paceman took seven wickets on the first day as he returned to Lancashire action at Southport last week and the 41-year-old to go out as their best bowler in the match (9/4) is well worth a go – if only for sentimental reasons.

WEST INDIES BETTING ANALYSIS

The West Indies did show some grit and determination in that aforementioned series against Australia – and those adjectives perfectly summarise the temperament of Kraigg Brathwaite and his batting. Brathwaite is only 31, despite having seemingly been around forever, but backing him to be the best Windian batter when he faces up against a departing and determined Anderson, as well as Chris Woakes on a ground he also loves to play at, would be a risk. Instead, opting for either Athanaze (11/2) or McKenzie (11/2) would seem smarter.

The bowling is interesting because it is expected to be a four-man pace attack with Shamar Joseph and Jayden Seales joined by Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph. Holder has had a tendency to start series’ against England well, with both bat and ball, so him to be their best bowler (7/2) would not be the worst bet, albeit he is coming back from an injury that saw him ruled out of the ICC T20 World Cup. Seales has been playing for Sussex in the Championship, whilst the two Josephs have been away at that tournament so purely from a preparation perspective, as well as his undoubted skill, Seales (7/2) to be the best West Indies bowler in the match seems a sensible bet.

ENGLAND VS WEST INDIES EXPERT PREDICTION

Despite the fact that the West Indies have some excellent bowlers, especially in terms of the seam department, and the fact some of their younger batters quickly matured in Australia in the winter, England have to win this game and are expected to win it comfortably – whether they bat or bowl first. Playing against such aggressive opponents will also be a learning curve for the Windies’ bowlers and there is a chance that catches them slightly off guard, despite how much the so-called ‘Bazball’ methods have been discussed.

This week is about Jimmy, though. One of the reasons for him reportedly being given the tap on the shoulder would be that his second innings performances have declined. In the first innings, barring the Ashes last summer, he remains potent and Anderson to be England’s top wicket taker in the first innings has for 21 years, and remains so, a good bet.

ENGLAND VS WEST INDIES TIP: JAMES ANDERSON TO BE ENGLAND’S TOP WICKET TAKER IN THE FIRST INNINGS