Nasser Hussain on England’s bowling plans for second Test against West Indies

After a washout on day three at Emirates Old Trafford, England have two days to pick up 19 West Indies wickets and square the series at 1-1. Nasser Hussain looks at the bowling plans they should deploy…

When you look at the scoreboard and the fact not many wickets fell until England were trying to set up a declaration, you might think it’s going to be hard work – but it has done plenty in this game so far.

England vs W Indies

July 19, 2020, 10:30am

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There has been swing movement and England have very good swing bowlers.

England played and missed 87 times in their innings and 38 times they edged it. One in every seven or eight deliveries they missed or edged.

Ben Stokes himself said it was quite hard work, so there is plenty there for the seamers with this rain having been around.

The West Indies’ magical number is 270. That will avoid the follow-on, England will have to bat again and that will take time out of the game. West Indies may then only need to bat two sessions to save the Test.

Nasser Hussain

Another bonus for England is Curran’s height.

Curran playing in Barbados last year was a mistake but the fact he is short helps England at Old Trafford because he bowls the full length that brings lbw and the stumps into play.

Jason Holder, who is 6ft 7in, was bowling a full length and only just trimming the bails, so a load of DRS decisions weren’t overturned.

Curran, at 5ft 9in, has a different trajectory and brings the stumps into play.

The other thing is about spin – and this works against England slightly.

Roston Chase, at 6ft 4in, was getting a lot of bounce and over-spin, whereas Dom Bess, at 5ft 11in, didn’t get as much and batsmen can pick up length slightly better as it is not bouncing on them too much.

Bess has got his line right but I think he needs to get his length better – his length needs to be immaculate. He should be hitting the spot between the full and good length much more often.

Of the 187 deliveries he has bowled only eight have landed in that in-between length – the length where batsmen aren’t sure whether to get forward or go back.

Bess has really improved as a spinner from when we first saw him. He has worked with Rangana Herath from Sri Lanka and really improved his line, seam position and drift and he is getting dip.

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