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Kent Cricket's Zak Crawley and Joe Denly have contrasting fortunes in the first Test against West Indies

Zak Crawley was the pick of the two Kent batsmen in England's first Test defeat to West Indies.

The tourists won the match at the Ageas Bowl by four wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Zak Crawley could have earned himself a place in the second Test against West Indies Picture: Ady Kerry
Zak Crawley could have earned himself a place in the second Test against West Indies Picture: Ady Kerry

With captain Joe Root missing, it meant there was room for both Crawley and Joe Denly to play. But while Crawley's impressive second innings knock of 76 - his highest score in Test cricket - impressed those watching, Denly's impact drew criticism.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said the Kent batsman, who has made 15 Test appearances, was "just not good enough" after his dismissal for 29 on day four. Chosen as no.3 batsman, Denly, 34, is still awaiting his maiden century for his country.

Denly, as so often has been the case during his Test career, looked well set in his second innings but gifted his wicket away with a chip to mid-wicket off spinner Roston Chase.

With Root back for the second Test - he missed the first to be at the birth of his second child - someone will have to move aside and Vaughan had no hesitation who he thought it should be, saying: "Crawley surely has to stay in the side."

Kent opener Crawley, 22, is showing plenty of potential and former England player Dominic Cork also believes the younger of the two should be playing in the second Test.

He said in a podcast: "If you're asking who's going to be left out? Denly will unfortunately be left out of the next Test match for Root.

"He's had his chance. If you don't perform, unfortunately you get dropped."

He added: "Crawley is too talented of a cricketer to not play."

Crawley shared a stand of 98 with stand-in captain Ben Stokes for the fourth-wicket before both men departed in quick succession. West Indies were left needing 200 for victory and Jermaine Blackwood's 95 helped them get home.

The second Test takes place at Old Trafford on Thursday but Crawley, quite rightly, was only concentrating on himself when asked about who should play.

He said: "My job is to score runs and that is what I will try to continue to do as long as I get a chance.

"It is for the powers that be to decide. Joe has done extremely well over the past year and it's a tough scenario."

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