Rain played spoilsport on the day cricket returned as just 17.4 overs happened on Day 1 of the first Test between England and West Indies (watch England vs West Indies ball by ball commentary here) at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Wednesday.
Following a delayed toss that England’s captain Ben Stokes won, the hosts came out to bat with clouds looming. By the end of three overs, England had a casualty in Dom Sibley, whom Shannon Gabriel removed with the batsman offering no stroke, and nearly another in the first over when West Indies reviewed an lbw call – also when the batsman, Rory Burns offered no shot – to see the ball clipping bails as umpire’s call.
Gabriel found consistent seam movement into the right-hander and set Sibley up with out-swingers before bringing one back in. Rory Burns in the same over too found it tough against the returning Gabriel who was added at the last minute to the 15-member squad.
Under gloomy weather, the teams dropped to one knee in support of the campaign against racial injustice with Black Lives Matter logos on their shirts during the three-match series.
England had left out veteran pace man Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes and went with the trio of James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. West Indies chose Roston Chase over Rahkeem Cornwall and went with a four-prong pace attack of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph and captain Jason Holder.
The pacers were in action during the 17 overs of play but after the initial movement, the ball did not move around much despite the cloud cover. Burns, who is on 999 runs in Test cricket, and is set to become the first England opener (after Alastair Cook) since 2011 to cross 1000 Test runs, and Joe Denly played themselves in nicely, although runs came in trickles.
England openers have their task cut out against a potent West Indies bowling attack.
Rory Burns is on the verge of breaking the 1000-run barrier (21 runs away). Since 2011, no England opener other than Alastair Cook have 1000-plus runs in Tests. Cook has 7482!!!!#ENGvWI pic.twitter.com/6EGNYvWzfr
— Stat Doctor🩺 (@stat_doctor) July 8, 2020
The forecast is a lot better over the next four days. 98 overs each will be bowled on the remaining days of the Test match.
England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Zak Crawley, Ben Stokes (captain), Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, James Anderson.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder (captain), Shane Dowrich, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel.