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Recent Match Report – England vs West Indies 3rd Test 2021/22

West Indies won the toss and chose to bowl first against England

West Indies won the toss on a humid morning in Grenada and chose to bowl first, amid the expectation that a seamer-friendly surface for the third Test could finally break the deadlock in a bat-dominated series.

“There’s just some moisture around, the pitch has a decent layer of grass, it’s key to utilise it,” Kraigg Brathwaite, West Indies’ captain, said, as he confirmed a team with a solitary change. Veerasammy Permaul, the spinner, makes way for an extra batter in Kyle Mayers, as West Indies pin their hopes on a four-man pace attack with Jason Holder the allrounder at No.7.

“Bonner led the way and Jason Holder in the first game, Blackwood and myself followed,” Brathwaite added, after a spirited display from West Indies’ batters in the series so far, with fourth-innings rearguards to close out comfortable draws in Antigua and Barbados. “It’s good to have the fight from the batters.”

England themselves have had a decent time of it with the bat as well, with five centurions in the series so far, and a highest total of 507 for 9 declared in the first innings at Barbados. However, England slumped to 48 for 4 in helpful seaming conditions on the first morning of the series in Antigua, and on a humid day in Grenada, a big challenge awaits for a still fragile top-order.

After the bare strips that were presented for the opening two Tests, the surface at St George’s features some thick patches of grass on a decent length around the right-hander’s off stump, a bit of moisture beneath the surface, and a few cracks on a good length as well.

“We’ve done a lot of good stuff throughout the series and keep getting better and better all the time,” Joe Root, the England captain, said. “It’s important to keep building. Every Test you go into you want to contribute and this is another opportunity to take a step forward as a side.”

England confirmed their XI on the eve of the match, with Ollie Robinson once again missing out after suffering a recurrence of the back spasm that has dogged him since the Ashes. His absence means a reprieve for Chris Woakes, whose two wickets in the series have come at a cost of 86.00 each, while Craig Overton – who fell ill on the morning of the second Test – is back in the side in place of Matt Fisher.

The grassier nature of the surface, however, means no Test debut for Matt Parkinson, whose legbreaks might have come in handy on the two flat surfaces at Antigua and Barbados.

Despite some speculation that Jayden Seales, West Indies’ 20-year-old seamer, might be rested for this game following a heavy workload in the first two Tests, he has been backed to carry over his form onto what is potentially a more helpful surface. Anderson Phillip, the uncapped Trinidad fast bowler, will wait for his turn another day.

West Indies 1 Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), 2 John Campbell, 3 Nkrumah Bonner, 4 Shamarh Brooks, 5 Kyle Mayers, 6 Jermaine Blackwood, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Joshua da Silva (wk), 9 Alzarri Joseph, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Jayden Seales.

England 1 Alex Lees, 2 Zak Crawley, 3 Joe Root (capt), 4 Dan Lawrence, 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Ben Foakes (wk), 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Craig Overton, 10 Saqib Mahmood, 11 Jack Leach

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket

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