England coach Peter Moores has hinted that Jonathan Trott will retain his place in the side for the third Test of the series against West Indies.
Trott made 59 in the first innings in Grenada as England posted their first century opening stand for more than two years. But he was out for a duck in the second innings, meaning he had failed in three of his four innings since returning to the side in a new role at the top of the order.
With time running out to blood other options before the Ashes – after this Test in Barbados, England will play two against New Zealand before the Ashes begins – some critics have urged the selectors to give Adam Lyth an opportunity.
But Moores suggested that Trott is gradually rediscovering the form that once made him the ICC’s world player of the year and warned that Lyth – and other members of the squad – could be destined for a frustrating tour.
“I thought Trott played really well in the first innings,” Moores said. “I think he played beautifully. In the second innings, he got out to his third or fourth ball. It happens. It can happen to anyone.
“But what we saw in the first innings was Jonathan Trott playing like Jonathan Trott. I think he would admit that in Antigua he hadn’t quite got himself where he wanted to be.
“I don’t think his temperament changed, for me it was more of a technical thing. He was overbalancing in Antigua so he wasn’t quite getting where he wanted to be with the ball.
“He sorted that out, and I thought the partnership between him and Cook was a really good partnership. So I think he’ll come out of that Test match thinking: ‘yeah, actually I feel in good nick. I feel like I’ve got myself going’.”
Moores was also keen to point out that the England team already contained several young or relatively inexperienced players making their way at Test level – the likes of Ben Stokes, Gary Ballance, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, Chris Jordan and Joe Root – and that it was important to retain an experienced spine in the side.
“Bringing players in is quite a fine balance,” he said. “You want them to be playing in a winning side and they’ve got to have earned the right to play and be given a chance. We’ve looked at quite a lot of new players already and have probably got six or seven starting to emerge.
“Getting in a Test team is hard and they – those players who have yet to feature in the Test team – might not play a Test in this series. They’ve got to work really hard to get in and once you get in you’ve got to work hard to take your chance.
“Of course there’s development to think about and there’s a lot of Tests coming up. But often that progression is quite natural. Bowlers get injuries, get tired and others get chances. Chris Woakes has been injured and Ben Stokes has come in so it becomes quite natural.”
England arrived in Barbados on Sunday in fine spirits. Buoyed by what Moores termed “a great win” – and while the opposition may be somewhat modest, the conditions were anything but – there was a sense of “euphoria” throughout the travelling party, which now includes family members and girlfriends. A well deserved break – they will next train on Wednesday – looms.
“It felt like a reward for all the hard work that you’ve seen going on by the players and the coaches,” he said. “It all comes through and you can feel the euphoria of the win. It is a great release. It was fantastic, and it was great to see everybody enjoying themselves.”
Central to the victory was James Anderson’s fifth-day spell with the second new ball. Anderson had been largely anonymous in the match up to that point but, with the game drifting to a draw, produced a vintage spell of bowling that cut through the cream of West Indies batting and set up the result.
“It was a world-class spell of bowling,” Moores said. “The areas he bowled, the plans he delivered, the pace he bowled – I think he bowled close to 90mph – was Jimmy at his best. And on that sort of pitch you need a world-class performer to open the game up.
“I’m not surprised. It was a great advocate of what playing for your country means. He found something in him that pushed him to another level. He was like a youngster again.
“He needed something. Because if you look at the wickets, often it was when someone really got to the top with their pace that they did well. Stuart Broad in the first innings really clicked. It was a very tough pitch to bowl on.”
England will name a fresh looking ODI side on Tuesday. James Taylor is expected to be named as captain, with Sam Billings among those likely to win a call-up, and Alex Hales and Jason Roy featuring in an aggressive batting line-up. Matt Dunn and Mark Foottitt are among the bowlers under consideration.
“Honestly, our one-day cricket has been in a backwater for a while,” Moores admitted. “The rest of the world have moved on. People have talked about that, I think they’re right.
“We’ve got to catch up on that side, try and run two different things. But they’re nearly two different games. You watch the last 10 overs of a one-day international now, the way people bat is different to anything else.
“That’s no excuse. This winter we didn’t play well enough. We were better than how we performed, I think. But it’s great to see us get back to Test match cricket and start to play well and build on that with a lot of Test match cricket coming.”