Cricket: England v West Indies

Simon Hughes: South Africa will provide sterner Test

West Indies lack enough quality seamers to keep the pressure up

Simon Hughes: South Africa will provide sterner Test

England’s Andrew Strauss made a fine hundred in this game and the home side ran out comfortable winners in the end. But I don’t think they will have it their own way quite so much against South Africa later this year.

If we compare the West Indies back-up bowlers with South Africa’s there’s a gulf in class. After Roach, West Indies had no one else of the same quality to press for victory. But the world's number one bowler, Dale Steyn, will have Philander and Morkel to back him up.

When South Africa arrive, for the first time this England batting line-up will be tested by a world-class attack. Clearly that could not be said of the West Indies and England never really looked like losing this game.

I expect the two players who settled the 1st Test match with their stand of 132 - Bell and Cook - will also do well against South Africa. They have the techniques to deal with the moving ball, and Trott also fits into that category.

The two positions I worry about most are Andrew Strauss at number one, as I think he will really struggle against Philander and Morkel, and the number six batting position, where we are likely to field a less experienced player.

Pietersen will raise his game against South Africa. We saw against West Indies on the last day at Lord's that he can throw his wicket away against bowlers he feels are beneath him. He will be determined to succeed against South Africa, but they are so strong he may not succeed.

As for the West Indies’ bowling attack, it is hard to see how they can strengthen it significantly for the Trent Bridge Test match. Ravi Rampaul is a good swing bowler and I expect him to take Fidel Edward’s place. Gabriel probably did enough to survive.

But I don’t think they will be able to find room for Shane Shillingford, the offspinner who took 10 wickets in a recent Test against Australia. They will probably feel they need three pace bowlers at Trent Bridge, where the ball offers swing.

Darren Sammy is not good enough to operate as the third seamer. So, they either play five bowlers, which would mean batting Ramdin a place too high in the order, or leave the spinner out, which leaves them with an unbalanced side.

For all his qualities as a captain, Sammy’s inclusion plays havoc with the balance of the West Indies side because he is not really good enough with bat or ball.

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