England enter the three-Test series in the West Indies high on confidence, having defeated No1 India 4-1 at home and Sri Lanka 3-0 in their backyard last year.
England have most bases covered and should come out on top against Windies. Adding to their sense of confidence is the usage of specially designed Dukes balls during the West Indies series.
The West Indies board has decided to use a variant of the Dukes balls – which are used in England – for the home series as it helps fast bowlers in all conditions and provides movement in their air and off the pitch consistently.
The Englishmen have altered their gameplan after considering the amount of assistance the quicker men are expected to get in the series which begins in Barbados in Wednesday.
Pace spearhead James Anderson is looking forward to bowling with the special Dukes balls after being rendered ineffective during the Sri Lanka Test series.
“The Dukes ball has been moving around a bit and swung for quite a considerable amount of time throughout the warm-up game, so that’s encouragement,” Anderson said. “At least there’s a glimmer of hope for us seam bowlers. We’re hoping for a little bit – just a little bit – through the air and it keeps you interested in the game.
“It feels you can make an impact in the game. The minute you come out here and there’s that extra encouragement, it just makes you excited to bowl and look forward to playing, so hopefully that’s going to stay with us for the rest of the trip.”
England’s pace attack for the first Test is likely to be Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes with left-arm seamer Sam Curran providing support as the fourth seamer.
Interestingly, Curran has emerged as potentially the most important member of the attack after extracting the maximum movement on a consistent basis during the warm-up match.
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