Dom Bess feeling 'really dangerous' as England aim to hit back in second Test
"What I’m focusing on is how well it is coming out at the moment. I do feel really dangerous and that is a great place to be as a spinner"
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 15/07/20 2:15pm
Dom Bess says he is feeling "really dangerous" and focusing on the positives ahead of England's second #raisethebat Test against the West Indies.
The off-spinner went wicketless in the final innings of the West Indies victory in the series opener but is encouraged by the way he bowled at the Ageas Bowl.
Bess, 22, took two wickets in the first innings and was unfortunate not to add to his 13 Test wickets in the second, most notably with an extremely tight lbw review on Roston Chase just before lunch on the final day.
"I know I went wicketless [in the final innings] but it could have turned and the thing that I'm focusing on is how well it is coming out at the moment," he told reporters.
"I do feel really dangerous and that is a great place to be as a spinner.
"I feel like I'm attacking both edges of the bat. My consistency and accuracy within where I'm landing it is dangerous. I guess that comes through practice and training, getting that feel, getting that rhythm for myself. I've very big on my rhythm and getting into it. It's just a feeling and certainly I think I've got it at the moment."
Bess was expected to have a significant role on day five in Southampton but bowled just 10 overs as Jason Holder's side chased down 200 in the evening session.
However, the Somerset spinner insists he will have no concerns if the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford goes to the last day and he is expected to bowl the Windies out.
"I'm used to bowling on spinning wickets, I'm not worried," he said. "People talk about this pressure of it being on me on the last day, I've spoken a lot to Leachy (Jack Leach) about it, this pressure that people put on us. I actually flip it around - it's a great opportunity.
"It's like saying to a seamer 'it's a green one today, are you worried about getting them out?' No, of course you're not, you're excited because it is probably in your favour a little bit more and that's how I look at it. Certainly, the last couple of days and when it spins, that's my time to shine and stand up for the side."
While Bess' selection was expected given his performances on England's tour of South Africa, the decision to omit Stuart Broad in favour of the express duo of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood was rather more contentious.
Broad is likely to return in Manchester with England expected to rotate their seamers once more and Bess thinks the competition for places can only be good for the team.
"I think it is a great thing to have," he added. "You want that challenge, that competition for places. I think you can go through the whole squad and for every role that there is there are at least two or three people who can do that role and that's a really positive place to be.
"Again, I think that is only going to produce success in the long term when we've got the likes of Stuart Broad missing out in the first Test match. I know a lot of people have said a lot of things, I know he was gutted and that just shows you how much depth we've got.
"One of the greatest England have had and he's had to miss out in the first Test match. It shows you how good the quality [in the squad] is. He is closing in on 500 Test wickets and he's missed out."
Whether England's embarrassment of riches in the seam bowling leads to success in the coming years remains to be seen but Bess is determined to play his part and having studied a wide range of top-class off-spinners, is planning for a lengthy international career.
"I grew up watching [Graeme Swann] and I certainly think Jeetan Patel, now being in the county system, he's been dominating for a long time," Bess said. "I look a lot at Simon Harmer, he's another quality off-spinner. I've worked a little bit with (Rangana) Herath.
"I've been very fortunate that I've come across all these guys now and tried to pick their brains a little bit. The big thing for me is taking the things I can do from them and filtering out other stuff that might not work for me, and then making me the best bowler I can be.
"Obviously, a big one is Nathan Lyon, I look at him a lot. I look at his action and how he gets a lot on it. There are a lot of similarities that these guys have and there is a reason why they're the best in the world. That's something I've been looking at and I think a bit one is consistency, where they're landing the ball, how many revs you can get on the ball, how much you can get up and over.
"It's very exciting where I am at the moment, to think I'm 22 turning 23 this month. It's exciting and it's just about keeping grounded, keep working and keep having this no-ego approach. I'm still learning at this level; I've only played 40 first-class games so it about learning and keeping improving.
"The day you come to when you think you've done it; I think that is the end of it. I want a long international career, so I've got to keep working."
Meanwhile, England confirmed Joe Root had trained after returning to the 'bubble' following the birth of his second child and Saqib Mahmood has left the squad.
The Lancashire fast bowler will join up with the white-ball training group at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday ahead of the three-match one-day international series against Ireland later in the month.
Watch day one of the second #raisethebat Test live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30am on Thursday.