West Indies vs England, first Test

West Indies vs England, first Test

And welcome to live coverage of the second day’s play from Bridgetown. West Indies ended the first day, having won the toss and elected to bat, on 264 for eight with only the impressive Shimron Hetmyer, Alzarri Joseph (with a highest first-class score of 31) and Shannon Gabriel (as adept as Devon Malcolm with the bat without the capability to slog a couple of sixes) between them and a chance to turn the screw with the bat.

Moisture’s effect on a pitch is a strange thing. The ground staff’s heavy watering of it until two days ago left the soil very damp and it played as if it was condemned for most of the morning and afternoon session. But once it had started to dry and Ben Stokes strained every sinew it began to respond. Then, at the end, a pitch that seemed to have slugs in it was revealed to have the odd serpent, too, as Anderson’s mastery of the Dukes completely changed the complexion of the match. Stokes kept England in it and Anderson put them in front.

But we cannot be sure until England bat. We know Keaton Jennings is a fine player in Asia but he has struggled against pace at home, Rory Burns has made a similar start to most of the new boy openers of the past seven years, quietly encouraging but hardly substantial, and England’s top order has rarely clicked in concert since 2012 and parts of 2013. Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach are very good bowlers, Alzarri Joseph is very nippy and Jason Holder ha just enjoyed his best year. England can be very pleased with their day, but they still have plenty to prove. 

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