July 23, 2020 / 3:11 PM / 13 days ago

West Indies hint at unchanged team for decisive test

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - West Indies might continue with the same team for a third successive test against England even though they have had little time to rest in between, captain Jason Holder said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Second Test - England v West Indies - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - July 19, 2020 West Indies' Kemar Roach celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Jos Buttler, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Jon Super/Pool via REUTERS

Changes had been expected to the line-up, especially after coach Phil Simmonds hinted at a new top order and fresh bowlers after 113-run defeat in the second test, which ended on Monday.

But Holder backed underfire opener Shai Hope and insisted the team were in good shape ahead of Friday’ start of the decisive test at Old Trafford.

“Everyone has pulled up really well,” he told a news conference.

“Having test matches with a short turnaround, such as it has been, has been tough. No doubt, both teams will be feeling it. But we’ve got enough motivation to keep pushing; we’ve got a chance to win this series, and we’ve been playing some pretty decent cricket.”

Holder said Hope, who has scored only 57 runs in four innings in the series, had his support.

“We all know what Shai can produce and has done before at this level at test cricket. He’s arguably one of the best one-day batsmen in the world and we know the calibre of player he can be. I’ve got full confidence in Shai to get some runs,” said Holder.

“He’s got starts so far in this series, so he’s not far off converting a start into something really special for us. So, he’s got my full support.”

If any changes are made to the line-up, off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall could be included depending on the state of the wicket.

“If he does come in, he’s a wicket-taker,” said Holder.

“No doubt... he would be the best spinner on show in this series. He’s always a wicket-taking option for us, brings a bit more slip-catching and he can bat.”

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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