Test 2 Day 5 preview: Diminishing Marginal Utility

The Golden Question on everyone’s mind is how long will England bat for before they declare. The general view is that England needs two new balls to have a chance to win which would imply that there will be two peaks where the chances of an England victory will be high. This would be in the first 15 overs of the game and the last 15. A minimum of 98 overs are due to be bowled but I believe 95 overs is more realistic. This would imply that England cannot bat for more than eight overs and should score in excess of seven runs an over. This is where things get interesting and my view deviates from everyone else’s. The strike rate at Old Trafford is about 60 and scores around four per over is achievable. Getting West Indies out within 90 overs will be extremely difficult.

West Indies currently holds the Wisden Trophy so a draw will be equivalent to a victory for them. This is where my view differs from everyone else’s. I believe than the six to eight over scenario actually hurts England’s chances. I would like to see England bat for less than three overs or until all the batsmen are out where they score in excess of 15 an over and then use Joe Root to bowl in between to get through the overs quickly. This would give both England and West Indies a good chance of winning. The other option is to get about 70-100 runs as fast as possible and hopefully the fast bowlers will make the most of the new ball and then Dom Bess and Joe Root will be able to make life very difficult for the batsmen by bowling into the rough which will increase.

England’s victory is a simple case of diminishing returns . If England bat too long then they will not win. If they bat too little without a good run rate then West Indies will be able to win. Overs do not matter as much as the possibility of getting sufficient runs so that both the seamers and spinners can take wickets. Getting an additional half an hour play at the end of the day may make all the difference!

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