LONDON, CMC – Batting coach Toby Radford believes the clatter of wickets on Thursday’s opening day has set the stage for an exciting decisive third Test between England and West Indies.
“We checked the forecast several times and it was going to be the best day of the five so we won the toss and batted,” Radford told media here.
“From my own career playing and coaching at Middlesex, some days when it’s flat it’s very flat and you can get three, four hundred and then days like today with the overheads and a little bit in the wicket, it looks like something can happen every ball.
“It’s made for an interesting day’s cricket. I would’ve liked us to post a few more [runs] but it’s still very much game on. A couple of wickets in the morning and this could be another great Test match.”
Radford conceded that despite the overcast conditions which gave England’s bowlers the edge, the Windies should have gotten beyond 200.
“The way it swung and seamed around all day, 220, 250 would have been a good score,” Radford pointed out.
“I thought they bowled particularly well. I thought we were [good] for the better part of the day when we reached 70-odd for two. We saw off the new ball and then we obviously lost Shai Hope and Kieran Powell who batted nicely together.
“We lost them in the space of a few balls and suddenly we were under a bit of pressure. Stokes bowled a very good spell, he was exceptional. The guys worked well on the ball, got the ball polished up and swinging both ways and I thought they used the slope well.”
Radford said the Windies would continue to back themselves to limit England, especially with the form of their seamers.
“We know we’re a good bowling unit. I think Kemar Roach has been exceptional. He’s gone around the wicket especially to the left-handers – Alastair Cook in particular – angling in, shaping away and has made it difficult in and around off-stump,” Radford noted.
“Shannon Gabriel has been putting balls down at 90 miles per hour and he’s a handful for anyone so … we know the attack is good.”