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ENG v WI 2024, ENG vs WI 1st Test Match Report, July 10 – 14, 2024

England 189 for 3 (Crawley 76, Pope 57) lead West Indies 121 (Atkinson 7-45) by 68 runs

They came for James Anderson, but they got Gus Atkinson. The first Test of England’s summer at Lord’s was meant to be a farewell for their greatest-ever seam bowler, but West Indies’ batters rolled out the red carpet for a debutant instead: they collapsed from 88 for 3 to 121 all out, with Atkinson taking remarkable figures of 7 for 45.

Atkinson took two wickets in his first 14 balls on the first morning, but it was his second spell that sent West Indies into a tailspin. He took three wickets in four balls in his ninth over, ripping the heart out of West Indies’ middle order, then took two in three during his 11th. His figures were the second-best by an England bowler on their Test debut, behind only Dominic Cork.

Anderson, playing his 188th and final Test, bowled nine wicketless overs before lunch and was brought back to take the final wicket of the innings, trapping Jayden Seales lbw to a loud ovation from the Lord’s crowd. But it was Atkinson, the Surrey fast bowler, who led England off the field midway through a remarkable first day as a Test cricketer.

On a slowish pitch, he was the quickest England bowler on show, repeatedly touching 90mph/145kph and maintaining an average speed around 86mph/138kph. He made subtle adjustments to his grip but generally used a scrambled seam, allowing him to move the ball both ways off the surface.

England’s overnight lead owed primarily to Zak Crawley‘s quickfire 76. He rode his luck at times during his innings but was vindicated for his attacking intent, scoring heavily either side of point and dragging through midwicket and square leg when West Indies dropped short. He fell 24 short of a fifth Test hundred, Seales knocking his leg stump back with an inswinging yorker.

It was Seales who made the initial breakthrough for West Indies, angling one across Ben Duckett who edged through to Joshua Da Silva. Crawley and Pope combined to good effect after a bad-light stoppage, scoring at nearly five runs per over. Both men fell before the close but Joe Root and Harry Brook remained unbeaten.

Atkinson was one of two players handed their England Test caps on the first morning along with his Surrey team-mate Jamie Smith, having made his white-ball international debuts last year. Atkinson struck with the second ball of his first spell as Kraigg Brathwaite chopped onto his own stumps while attempting a leaden-footed slap through the off side.

He struck again in his third over, angling a full ball across the left-handed Kirk McKenzie whose thick outside edge flew quickly to Zak Crawley at second slip. After his first five-over spell he had figures of 2 for 2, with four maidens and a single scoring shot.

Alick Athanaze and Kavem Hodge, the Dominican batters, added 44 in a partnership that spanned the lunch interval. But when Athanaze steered a low catch to Root at first slip, it sparked a dramatic slide: Jason Holder, playing his first Test in a year, was squared up first-ball and caught in the slips, before Da Silva’s inside edge gave Smith his first Test dismissal.

Hodge saw three wickets fall in four balls while standing at the non-striker’s end and decided it was up to him to drag West Indies to a respectable total, laying into a cut when Chris Woakes offered him some width. The ball flew straight off the middle of his bat, only for Ollie Pope to take a spectacular diving catch in tight at point. Hodge threw his head back in disbelief.

Atkinson’s figures were briefly dented by Alzarri Joseph, who hit four boundaries in five balls: two wristy whips through square leg, a textbook straight drive and a sumptuous lofted extra-cover drive which had his fellow Antiguan Vivian Richards standing to applaud from the hospitality boxes.

But he soon chipped one up in the air to mid-on to give Atkinson a sixth, and two balls later, Shamar Joseph was comically caught by Pope point, losing his footing while attempting to pull him through the leg side. Anderson wrapped up the innings with an inswinger which struck Seales straight in front.

Anderson occasionally beat the bat but bowled a fraction too short, particularly in his first spell. He was applauded onto the pitch by the Lord’s crowd when leading England out for the national anthem with his close family present, and his daughters Ruby and Lola ringing the five-minute bell on the pavilion balcony.

Ben Stokes, who opted to bowl under cloud cover, was able to send down eight overs after declaring himself fully fit having skipped the T20 World Cup to continue his rehabilitation from a knee injury. He removed Mikyle Louis, who played brightly on debut, thanks to an excellent diving catch from Brook at second slip.

Louis, who became the first man from St Kitts to play Test cricket for West Indies, was handed his cap by Richards and played with a confidence that belied the fact this was only his eighth first-class appearance. He hit consecutive boundaries in Anderson’s first over, which cost nine runs, and his 27 made him West Indies’ top-scorer.

Both Crawley and Pope had surpassed him when the umpires took the players off for bad light in the evening session. Holder thought he had them trapped lbw but the Decision Review System saved both: Pope was given out but the inswinger was projected to miss leg, while Holder convinced Brathwaite into reviewing a not-out decision off Crawley which was upheld.

He did eventually trap an overbalancing Pope in front for 57, ending a second-wicket partnership worth 94 runs shortly after England had nudged into the lead. It was Pope’s first 50-plus score in a Test since his 196 against India in Hyderabad and only his second against a red-ball in this English summer.

Shamar Joseph, playing a first-class match for the first time since spearheading West Indies’ famous win at the Gabba, bowled nine wicketless overs and suffered from cramp. His namesake Alzarri, who has also spent the last six months playing T20, was short on rhythm and consistency: he bowled three no-balls and leaked 6.6 runs per over.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98


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