PRAISE FOR SPIN TWINS

Leach and Bess impress England Lions Head Coach...

SOMERSET spin twins Jack Leach and Dom Bess have been praised by England Lions coach Andy Flower.

England Lions may have lost the final Test against West Indies A in Antigua, but there was praise for Somerset spin twins Jack Leach and Dom Bess in the wake of the defeat.

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

Andy Flower, the Lions head coach, was quick to praise Leach and Bess, who have impressed overall during the series.

Bess – watched from the stands by parents Russell and Jane as well as grandma Maureen, who made the trip over to Antigua – took five wickets on his debut in the last match.

“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.”

Bess (5-88) 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.”

Flower felt his batting line-up would learn a lot from the spin-friendly conditions.

“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,” he said. “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.

“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.”

Bess (18) and Leach (14) showed some resistance in an England innings that saw opener Haseeb Hameed top score with just 26.

There was another of the Somerset contingent in action in Durban in the first Test between South Africa and Australia.

New signing Cameron Bancroft is set to open the batting for The Cidermen at Taunton this summer but the Aussie left hander made a poor start to the series.

Bancroft, with Gloucestershire last season, survived an lbw appeal, after review, off the third ball of the match before shuffling across his stumps to Vernon Philander’s second ball and edging behind for just five.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.