Related Link : West Indies in England 2007
England will be going into the fourth and final Test which starts from today at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street, Durham with a much more stronger bowling attack which is boosted by the return of their strike bowler Matthew Hoggard. Durham’s own Liam Plunkett has been ordered to make way for the swing bowler Hoggard who is fit having missed the second and third matches because of a groin strain. The homeside will be clear favourites in winning the last test match as well despite West Indies trying their best to start competing.
Getting into this fourth test match, Windies have suffered a huge blow with the news that their new find Darren Sammy may be ruled out because of an injury. Sammy had taken seven wickets in the second innings of the Old Trafford Test but had also picked up a groin injury while batting which puts question marks over his participation for this last test. The replacement for Sammy in this Test Match might be fast bowler Daren Powell or all rounder Ravi Rampaul if he is fit.
The batting has been a big let down for Windies especially at the top with Chris Gayle not firing up the big ones. There will be added pressure on Gayle as he has been named as the Captain of the One Day Team. Gayle will need to bat out for atleast a couple of sessions and the runs will no doubt come from him. The Captain himself Daren Ganga has been unable to lead the team from the front by getting runs from his bat. He is fresh from a twin failure in both the innings of the last test falling lbw to Steve Harmison. The remaining batsmen have got the runs but except for Shivnarine Chanderpaul, none of them have gone onto make tall scores. This has been the difference between both the sides to go along with one Monty Panesar. Among the bowlers, Jerome Taylor will be either charged up or completely down mentally as he has been left out of the One Day Squad. Taylor was not that long ago was treated as the brightest star in West Indies Cricket having taken a sensational hat-trick in last year’s Champions Trophy Match against Australia. Ganga would be hoping that Taylor gets angry for his omission and shows that towards the English batsmen by bowling some fiery spells. The fire has got to come back in the belly for Jerome Taylor!
England have made just the one change with Liam Plunkett dropped for Matthew Hoggard. Not many bowlers in the International Circuit swing the ball but Matthew Hoggard belongs to the Old School of Swing bowlers. He has a sharp pace which is powered with subtle movement in the air. Hoggard does swing the ball in both directions making it tough for the top order batsmen. Chris Gayle will have to watch out for his pads as Hoggard does get the ball to bend back into the left hander. It’s not just with the new ball but Hoggard also gets the reverse swing going once the ball gets old and rough on one side. Hoggard’s new ball partner Steve Harmison is slowly getting back to his best under the watchful eyes of Allan Donald, England bowling consultant. Harmison took six wickets in the last match which isn’t bad but he has some way to get back to his devastating best. England have been very lucky to have a world class bowler in Monty Panesar who has to be kept at bay by the West Indies batsmen to save themselves from a defeat. And if you thought that these are the only three bowlers that the batsmen have to look out for then there’s a surprise package in Ryan Sidebottom, the star of the Leeds Test always looking to prove a point.