After the stunning series whitewash in Sri Lanka before Christmas, England came crashing back down to earth with a humbling defeat in the First Test against West Indies.

England’s batting frailties came to the fore once again as a four-man Windies pace attack skittled the tourists for just 77 in the first innings.

Once England were set a mammoth 628 to win following Jason Holder’s double century, there was only one winner, and they duly subsided to a 381-run defeat with part-time spinner Roston Chase claiming 8-60.

England’s selection policy was a major talking point after they opted to leave Stuart Broad out of the side, instead opting for the swing bowling of Sam Curran and two spin options in Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

The Second Test starts in Antigua on Thursday with Broad set to come into the side in place of either Curran or Rashid, depending on how Root wants to balance his attack. Chris Woakes and Mark Wood will also be champing at the bit to play a part in the series.

But given that they trail 1-0 in a three-Test series, England will also need a vastly improved performance with the bat if they are to win or at least draw the series.

Question marks remain at the top of the order with Rory Burns still finding his feet at international level and Keaton Jennings struggling for consistency alongside him.

The number three dilemma is also still a problem. Jonny Bairstow has been successful in the middle order and he now finds himself further up the order after the likes of Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Moeen Ali have all previously fulfilled the role. With an Ashes summer ahead, England need to find that solution quickly.

With Root at four and the likes of Stokes, Jos Buttler and Ben Foakes to follow, the middle-order is unlikely to change too much for both this series and the Ashes. But the soft underbelly which has been exposed far too often in recent times is a serious cause for concern.

Meanwhile, the home side are likely to stick to the same side which produced a magnificent performance in Barbados. The likes of Geoffrey Boycott and Andrew Flintoff were critical of the quality of West Indies cricket prior to the series but they have proved that they still possess some quality players.

Shai Hope is a class act with the bat and after an underwhelming start to his Test career, he looks set for a long stay in the West Indies side.

Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder were all impressive at Bridgetown, whilst a pace attack that includes Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach shouldn’t be underestimated again in Antigua if the conditions suit.


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