England bounced back from 1-0 down to win the Wisden Trophy with a massive 269-run victory over West Indies in the third and final Test of the series. The Wisden Trophy series marked the return of international cricket after a four-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 restrictions and it lived up to all the hype around it. This series proved that even in these unprecedented times, cricket will still prevail.
The West Indies were dominant in the first Test of the series and many believed they could go on to retain the Wisden Trophy, but England proved that they were a far better team and are almost unparalleled in their home conditions. This will be the last time the Wisden Trophy will be handed out to the winning team as it is being retired in the Lord’s museum. The new trophy will be named after two legends of the game, Sir Ian Botham of England and Sir Viv Richards from the West Indies, next edition onwards.
This series was action-packed and we witnessed some intriguing cricket. Here are a few learnings from the Wisden Trophy series.
YOU SIMPLY DON’T WRITE STUART BROAD OFF
Stuart Broad made his frustration public when he was dropped from the first Test of the Wisden Trophy series. He came back in the second Test and looked like England’s best bowler by a country mile. In just two matches, Broad picked up 16 wickets at a marvellous average of 10.93 and emerged as the highest wicket-taker of the series. In doing so, he picked up his 500th Test wicket and joined the elite company of Muttiah Muralidharan (800), Shane Warne (708), Anil Kumble (619), James Anderson (589), Glenn McGrath (563) and Courtney Walsh (519). He also scored a handy 62 in the third Test, which rightly earned him both the Man of the Match and England’s Player of the Series awards.
BEN STOKES CAN DO ANYTHING ON A CRICKET FIELD
After a glorious 2019 summer, Ben Stokes carried his great run into this series as well. He emerged as the leading run-getter in the series with 363 runs and scored at an average of 90.75. He batted with patience when the situation was difficult, he accelerated when his captain wanted to declare early due to the bad weather forecast and even opened the innings for his team in the second innings of the second Test. He also picked up nine crucial scalps and bowled some serious hard spells of short-pitch bowling, making the opposition batsman uncomfortable. Is there anything this man can’t do on a cricket field? Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle is also backing him to invent the COVID-19 vaccine. Though this seems like a bit of a stretch, you never know what’s the limit for this man.
WIN THE TOSS BUT LOSE THE MATCH?
It was uncanny how on all three occasions, the captain who won the toss went on to lose the match. Stokes elected to bat first in testing conditions and that didn’t help him in his first Test as captain. Jason Holder fell for the overcast conditions in Manchester on both the occasions and elected to bowl first on pretty slow tracks. Playing a spinner and bowling first bewildered many. The team opting to field first at Old Trafford has never won a Test match on that ground and surely Holder would have been aware of this stat, but somehow he backed his natural instinct and that backfired massively.
JOE ROOT COMPLETES THE ENGLAND BATTING LINE UP
England captain Joe Root missed the first Test of the series to attend the birth of his child and England missed him dearly with the bat. He came back in the last two Tests at Manchester and showed what was the missing link in the first Test. In four innings, Root managed to score 130 runs at an average of 43.33 and brought the much-needed solidity in the English batting line-up.
WNDIES WENT DOWNHILL RAPIDLY
After a sensational start to the series, the West Indies fell well short in the next couple of Test matches. Their batsmen struggled to cope up to the pressure the English bowlers bring, especially with the Dukes ball, and none of them went on to score a century in this series. Their pace quartet was absolutely superb in the first Test but seemed lagging behind in the next two. Their weary pace attack failed to sustain the same discipline from the first Test and the decision at the Toss didn’t help them either.
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