International cricket returned after a gap of nearly four months as England and West Indies squared off against each other in the first test at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday.
Here are our talking points from the day’s action.
1. Stuart Broad left out
Stuart Broad was left out of a home test for the first time in nearly 8 years as England opted for extra pace in the form of both Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.
Wood was impressive on England’s tour to South Africa in the winter and this selection is probably another indication that the selectors expect both him and Archer to play key roles in the next Ashes Down Under.
2. It wouldn’t be cricket in England without the rain!
Just as it had done at the World Cup last year, rain played spoilsport on the opening day at the Ageas Bowl. There were several interruptions, with players having to go on and off at frequent intervals. Only seventeen and a half odd overs were possible in the day’s play.
There was plenty of global interest in this game, particularly from India, where die-hard fans of the sport have been starved of cricket throughout the entire summer. A look at some of the best cricket betting sites for Indian players indicates that England are strong favorites for this series. Indian fans will be following the fortunes of Chris Silverwood’s side very closely- they are also the Men in Blue’s next home opponents in the longest format of the game.
3.Sibley falls for a duck
Imagine waiting 4 months to play test cricket and then getting out in the first over on your return! That’s exactly what happened to poor Dom Sibley as he lasted just four deliveries before being castled by Shannon Gabriel in the second over of the day. The right-hander shouldered arms, expecting the ball to move the other way, but was deceived by Gabriel bringing it in and paid the price with his wicket.
4. Captaincy debut for Ben Stokes.
The New Zealand born all-rounder joined a rare group of players to captain their countries at international level despite having no previous experience of doing so at first class level.
Stokes opted to leave out Broad and all rounder Chris Woakes in his first game as captain. He also won the toss and decided to bat first under overcast conditions.
Only time will tell whether his decisions will prove to be correct but Stokes seems to be an aggressive leader who will not shy away from taking the fight to the opposition.
5. Windies pace battery impressive on Day 1
The trio of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph look potent on paper, and aided by the world’s number 1 test all rounder in captain Jason Holder, the Windies have a very promising pace attack. Rahkeem Cornwall provides the spinning option, and could play a pivotal role as the test progresses.
Sibley was bowled by a beauty from Gabriel and both Rory Burns and Joe Denly had to work hard for their runs. England’s batting has always had an air of vulnerability about it in recent times, and the Windies will be keen to exploit that in this series.