We have to appreciate Dom Bess is still a young off-spinner learning his trade.
And it would be very easy to say, ‚Moeen Ali is a better bowler‘, every time he does not bowl a side out or is not at his best.
But it should be remembered Moeen was left out because he wasn’t getting it right every time he bowled and England have to give Bess a proper chance now.
Bess, 23 on Wednesday, has not even got that much first-class experience, let alone at Test level, and the more he plays for England, the better he will get.
We have to appreciate that England’s Dom Bess is still a young off-spinner learning his trade
When Bess first came into the side his seam position wasn’t right, he was bowling too straight and he wasn’t getting enough drift or dip.
But he changed that seam position and worked hard with Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath at a spin camp last winter.
And we saw the rewards of that work when he was called up in South Africa, where he was getting the ball more outside off-stump and finding that drift and dip.
Then we saw it again when he had Shai Hope caught at slip in the first Test at the Ageas Bowl.
So Bess has sorted out his line, but his control of length is not where he would want it to be at the moment. He should be landing it around nine feet from the popping crease in that in-between length where good meets full, ball after ball, but he has been missing that a lot in this series and at this level you get punished.
When Bess first came into the side his seam position wasn’t right and he bowled too straight
They may be linked.
Duncan Fletcher used to say to me whenever I got Ashley Giles to go over the wicket and bowl into the rough: ‚Remember length is on a curve. The moment you change your line and angle, you have to change your length a fraction, too.‘ By changing his line, Bess has lost his length a bit and it will take time for him to get that back.
The advantage Bess has is that Sam Curran is providing rough for him outside the right-hander’s off-stump here, and that would have been accentuated by Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad going round the wicket and bowling short at West Indies.
So he should have more footholes to help him than he did in the first Test, if he gets a go today.
I do not agree with the theory that England should have played slow left-armer Jack Leach ahead of Bess because West Indies have 10 right-handers.
If you followed that thinking you would create a lot of one-dimensional spinners.
For instance, how would Graeme Swann have learned to bowl against right-handers when he was starting out if he had only played when there were more left-handers in a team?
Bess‘ control of length is not where he would want it to be at the moment but his line is fine
The ball Bess bowled to Hope in his first over yesterday was absolutely perfect.
It landed in Curran’s footholes, turned, bounced and nearly bowled the batsman through the gate as he aimed a big drive.
That has to be the Somerset man’s stock delivery.
Yes, Roston Chase, who seems to save his best off-spin for England, has out-bowled Bess so far in this game, but you have to remember he is quite a bit taller, so he has been getting more bounce on this Old Trafford pitch.
Monday is a big day for Bess if England get in a position to try to bowl West Indies out a second time.
But the only way he is going to improve is to keep playing and have a good shot at being England’s No 1 spinner.
Roston Chase, who seems to save his best for England, has out-bowled Bess so far in this game
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