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Friday, 16 November, 2018

Hales and Lewis to provide the fireworks in Durham

Alex Hales wants his Test place back
1 of 1

T20 international
Sky Sports Cricket, 6.30pm Saturday

Durham in mid-September is about as far away from the Caribbean as you can get in the cricketing world.

Temperatures reaching a balmy 13C await the West Indies at Chester-le-Street on Saturday evening and while the climate may be slightly alien for the Windies' players, a return to the limited-overs arena certainly is not.

While their Test match performances may be on the wane, the popularity of T20 cricket continues to soar in the Caribbean - in no small part down to their success of the Windies on the world stage.

The reigning World T20 champions have bought in the big guns for this and the five one-day internationals to come over the next fortnight, with Marlon Samuels and global superstar Chris Gayle putting their differences with the West Indies cricket board aside to feature.

Local fans hoping to get a rare glimpse of England's X-factor player Ben Stokes have been left disappointed by the Three Lions' decision to rest the all-rounder but there is still plenty to look forward to with a young squad hoping to put their Champions Trophy disappointment behind them.

After two mismatches in the Test series (either side of a West Indies upset win), bookmakers are expecting more competitive cricket over the next two weeks with England chalked up as 4-6 favourites for Saturday's clash. To put that in some context they were 1-3 to win the final Test despite losing by five wickets at Headingley.

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With no Ben Stokes, England will need another member of their enterprising squad to provide the pyrotechnics for the party.

Joe Root has had another brilliant summer but away from the international arena Nottinghamshire's Alex Hales has been determined to win back his place in England's Test squad.

His match-winning 187 not out in the ODC final at Lord's was arguably his best professional innings.

A lean spell has followed his Championship double century against Derbyshire, but with a point to prove to England's selectors he has the tools to take a modest West Indies attack apart if he gets going.

For Windies supporters, they will be hoping England feel the full force of Chris Gayle. While the Test side have for the most part toiled, the 37-year-old blaster has warmed up for the limited-overs contests by taking apart bowling units in the Caribbean Premier League.

He is favourite to top the visitors' runscoring but could be upstaged by his big-hitting Patriots opening partner Evin Lewis.

Lewis has hit scores of 69, 39, 40, 97, 6 & 16 in his last six T20 outings and hits the ball a long way like mentor Gayle.

Team news
England have opted to rest Ben Stokes at his home ground. His place at number five may be taken by Jonny Bairstow who is likely to make way at the top of the order for the return of Jason Roy.

Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels are back for the West Indies after missing the Test series defeat. 

Weather
Overcast throughout with a chance of rain around 9pm. Temperatures reaching 12C with an 8mph southerly wind.

Recommendations
A Hales top England runscorer
1pt 10-3 Betfair, Paddy Power
E Lewis top WI runscorer
1pt 7-2 bet365


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The imposing right-hander has scored runs for fun this summer, playing a starring role in Notts' One-Day Cup and T20 triumphs
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