England v West Indies: I feel really dangerous, says Dom Bess

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England off-spinner Dom Bess is not concerned by his failure to take wickets on the final day of the first Test against West Indies.

Bess, 22, took 2-51 in the first innings but ended 0-31 in the second as the tourists won by four wickets.

“I’m attacking both edges and my consistency and accuracy where I’m landing it is dangerous,” said Bess.

“If I get picked at Old Trafford, hopefully we’ll get a big score and I can spin a couple out.”

When England won the toss for the first Test at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl, stand-in captain Ben Stokes chose to bat first in the hope the pitch would deteriorate and bring Bess into the game in the fourth innings.

Instead, West Indies chased down 200 to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

“Every experience is going to be good,” the Somerset spinner said.

“People talk about the pressure being on you as a spinner on the last day but I actually flip it around; it’s a great opportunity.

“It’s probably in your favour a little bit more and that’s how I look at it. When it spins, it’s my time to shine and stand up for the side.”

Bess returned to the England squad in their winter tour of South Africa after an 18-month hiatus following his debut series against Pakistan in 2018.

He took eight wickets in two Tests and has edged past county team-mate Jack Leach to become England’s first-choice spinner.

“I’m not taking it as a guarantee. I know Jack Leach is behind me and I know how hard he’s worked,” said Bess.

“I’ve had to fight for my spot for a long time. Potentially at the moment it’s a different feeling but it’s just about making sure I do what I can control.

“There’s no rivalry with it, we’re helping each other to be as good as we can for the England side and that’s a great place to be.”

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‘Training period helped our performance’

West Indies arrived in the UK on 9 June and trained at Emirates Old Trafford before travelling to Southampton for last week’s first Test.

Touring sides generally have limited preparation time before Test series but the coronavirus pandemic, and the need for a period of isolation after arriving in the UK, presented the tourists with extra time to get ready for this series.

They arrived with a larger squad to ensure competitive practice games between each other, and that is one of the reasons for their performance in the first Test, according to coach Phil Simmons.

“It was a great win, it signified a lot of hard work done by the players over the last four or five weeks,” he said.

“The fact we’ve been here for a long period time, we have had 11 seamers with us, it’s something we have to look at.

“That period of training goes a long way to how we performed.”

The second Test begins at Emirates Old Trafford on Thursday, where Windies skipper Jason Holder will walk out ranked as the second-best bowler in the world, according to the latest International Cricket Council Test match bowling rankings.

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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