After only one day of match practice at the 3 W’s Oval on the University of the West Indies campus – a satisfactory day for England because, on a pitch that was far from being so, they scored 317 for 10 wickets against a President’s XI – the tourists are already in a position where they could name their team for the first Test starting on Jan 23. This is because the West Indian selectors, at the lunch interval, revealed their hand.
The single remaining issue for England would appear to be their choice of third pace bowler. On Wednesday, when England are due to bowl all day no matter how many wickets they take, it will be a duel between Sam Curran and Chris Woakes to back up James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes in the Test – with Curran in the lead because he not only has youth on his side but the status of a lucky charm, having won all the seven Tests he has played.
To complete their bowling line-up for Tuesday, England’s selectors will not have to cross the road from the ground to visit the large new building, on a hill above the Caribbean, which is the Errol Barrow Centre for the Creative Imagination. Moeen Ali is set to be England’s sole spinner, because the West Indian selectors announced a squad containing three left-handed batsmen – the type that is meat for Moeen, and every offspinner – in their top five.