Former England captain Michael Vaughan reckons that the Jason Holder-led West Indies side will have an advantage in the second Test of the three-match series against England given that the visitors spent their time at the venue practicing for the series since their arrival in the country on June 9.
The Windies side had quarantined and played two warm-up games at the Old Trafford, the venue for the second Test, before leaving for Ageas Bowl in Southampton where the opener was played. With almost a week's time spent at the venue, Holder's men won't be surprised by the nature of the ground.
“Has to help when you’ve had your preparation time at a venue, been practising on the wickets,” Vaughan said on Cricbuzz. “The wickets at the back of the stands there, at the nets, are very similar to the ones in the middle. They’ve had a couple of warm-up games out in the middle at Old Trafford. So they have got the upper hand, not only in the series in terms of being 1-0, but the upper hand in the advantage they have had [with] probably six days of cricket already at Old Trafford.
“That is why it is a tall order for England, something I expect them to come back from. I think England will have enough to force the West Indies on the backfoot again this week. And I think they’ll be better to take the chances for the week’s cricket that they have had in Southampton.
“But it’s not going to be easy, really isn’t because this West Indies team, they have a good bowling attack and I have to say Jermaine Blackwood surprised me immensely. I thought he completely bluffed England. Blackwood is all-in, in terms of a poker player, he just goes all-in every time he goes out to bat.
“But he didn’t, he bluffed them and he played a little bit of a blind for a while and knocked them around, and they spread the field and he just said, ‘Thank you very much, I’ll take the ones and twos,’ which was clever on his behalf. West Indies are a matured team, very, very well-lead, well-coached by Phil Simmons and they will make it very difficult for England.”
West Indies, the defending champions of the Wisden Trophy, have already taken a 1-0 lead in the series following their impressive 4-wicket win the first Test. Holder's men outfoxed and outplayed the hosts in every department as the bowler's struggled to find movement while the batting unit failed to put up respectable totals in the absence of regular-captin Joe Root.