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Praise for "Spin Twins" despite Lions defeat

England Lions Head Coach, Andy Flower praised somerset Spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess today despite his side suffering a 213-run defeat against West Indies ‘A’ in the final “Test” in Antigua.

Requiring 408 runs to win, the Lions finished a disappointing 195 all out as the batsmen struggled against the two West Indies spinners.

However, the Lions Head Coach praised his own spinners after Jack Leach impressed throughout the series and Dom Bess took five wickets on debut.

“With the West Indies having two quality spinners, it has given our guys an opportunity to learn from them as well, and that is another great thing about these Lions tours,” said Flower.

“Jack has been excellent across the three Test matches, taking 18 wickets at 21.  He should be really proud of his performances over the series.”

“Dom Bess came into the team for the final match after waiting patiently for his opportunity and showed the skill he possesses. He has worked incredibly hard, has an excellent attitude and bowled beautifully for his five-wicket haul.”

Jomel Warrican was again outstanding, and the visitors had no answers to his subtle changes of pace as he picked up his fourth five-wicket haul of the series, finishing with five for 55 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Flower felt his batting line-up would learn a lot from the spin-friendly conditions and said: “The purpose of the Lions scheme is to bridge the gap between County cricket and International cricket, test the players in conditions they are not accustomed to and also gain knowledge about the players to help inform selection.

“We want to see what the players are made of and how good they are under pressure. This was strong opposition with 92 Test caps in their squad compared to 14 in ours. It’s exactly the type of challenge we want to put in front of our youngsters. In that sense the Tour has allowed us to learn a great deal about the players, but the results are obviously extremely disappointing.

“We have come up against two spinners who have offered challenges in difficult conditions and the disappointing thing is that the batting line up haven’t learnt how to deal with those conditions across the course of the series.”

 

Jack Leach and Alex Davies resumed proceedings on Day Four, and Leach decided he was going to be aggressive from the off charging Warrican twice in the first over.

One led to a missed stumping chance, and the second led to a boundary for the Somerset spinner.

The Lions had certainly begun in an aggressive manner, as Davies launched Warrican for a mammoth six into the stands. He tried to repeat the dose though, and could only find Keemo Paul at mid-on who took a good diving catch.

Rahkeem Cornwall then joined in on the act, as he found the edge of Leach’s bat with an excellent delivery which was taken by substitute wicket-keeper, Hamilton.

The Lions were just 16 minutes into the first session of Day Four, and had already lost two wickets with defeat looking an inevitability.

Bess and Richard Gleeson came together and saw out 45 balls, before the latter gave a difficult caught and bowled chance to Warrican, who couldn’t cling on.

The two then continued to show the kind of discipline that many of the other Lions line up hadn’t, rotating the strike and pouncing on any loose deliveries from the two spinners.

Bess’ resistance ended though, following Paul’s return to the attack, as he edged a good delivery to Hamilton behind the stumps and the spinner departed for 18.

Saqib Mahmood was out shortly after, lbw for nine, to give Warrican another five-wicket haul and his 30th wicket of the series.

The Lions finished 195 all out, with none of the batsmen making a match-winning contribution to save the game.

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