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West Indies vs England Third Test: Double boost for tourists with Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton expected to return

Robinson was not risked for the second Test in Barbados because England were unwilling to play with him after a back spasm, while Overton sat out after suffering a fatigue-related illness the day before the match.

With Mark Wood out with an elbow injury, this led to two debutants in the seam attack, Matt Fisher and Saqib Mahmood.

England haven’t called a replacement for Wood so they have a 15-man squad but should have decent options to freshen up the squad depending on the conditions they find at Grenada this week.

A huge workload for England’s bowlers in the first two Tests has led Paul Collingwood to say England will have to “be smart about how much” their players practice before the game.

Collingwood expects Robinson and Overton to be available, which further threatens Chris Woakes’ spot.

“We will have to assess it over the next two days,” he said. “Ollie Robinson hasn’t played in the first two Tests but looks ready and available and Craig Overton has overcome illness. We will look at the wicket at Grenada and see which squad composition is suited to take 20 wickets.

Of Woakes he said: “It’s been two really grueling Test matches. The players put their heart and soul into it, so I can imagine the guys are tired and exhausted after ten days of hard cricket on tough surfaces. Let’s see what the surface looks like in Granada and hopefully there’s a bit more grass on it so you’ll see it with more energy.

Another option is Matt Parkinson, the uncapped legpinner. Collingwood said he did not regret the decision to select Fisher ahead of Parkinson in Barbados, even though England won just five second-inning wickets on the final day.

“He is ready for the possible,” he said. “The simple fact is that in Covid times you don’t get matches in between. They’re back to back and that puts a lot of stress on the players and the downside is that we don’t have games in between to have preparation time for the guys who aren’t playing.

“We just have to make sure they have the time off, they’re making their fitness moves and they’ve got the overs under their belts so they can be as ready as possible.”

Collingwood was delighted with the performance of Mahmood, who took two wickets in each innings and was a threat with new and old ball.

“I was delighted he got a few wickets in the second innings,” he said. “I was heartbroken when he went overboard in the first run.

“I think both debutants showed a lot of skill on soft ground and great signs for the future. I’m sure they’ll be completely exhausted after this game, going 190 overs in the field, then having a rest session and then starting again. They can be proud of their efforts. It was a tough test match, but they showed good signs.


standard Sport

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