The much-anticipated action of top-level cricket finally took place and centre stage as England and West Indies locked horns in the first of the three Tests in Southampton. The match held according to the revised rules and regulations which got imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fixture took place in the closed environs of the Ageas Bowl or Rose Bowl and without saliva while simulation crowd noises were arranged to keep the match on a slight entertainment mode.
Despite not having a very desirable day due to a three-hour late start, continuous interruptions due to showers and bad light, things have started moving in the sport. After winning the toss, Ben Stokes asked the West Indies to bowl first. As widely predicted, England left out Stuart Broad to accommodate Jofra Archer and Mark Wood in the pace department alongside spearhead, James Anderson.
On the other hand, the tourists picked Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph and surprisingly dropped Rahkheem Cornwall. Prior to the start of the play, all the players and the umpires dropped on one knee to pledge their support for the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.
As far as the day one is concerned, it could only trudge till 17.4 overs as England found themselves in a relatively safe position of 35-1. Dom Sibley, who lost 12 kgs during the sport suspension, could not open his account as Shannon Gabriel brought the ball back in to dislodge the stumps. A poor judgement while trying to leave the ball culminated in Sibley’s downfall in the second over.
Joe Denly and Rory Burns restore stability for England:
After three overs, the players strode out of the ground in response to the drizzling. At the conclusion of the first delivery of the fourth over, the umpires forced the players out of the park again due to rains. After returning, Joe Denly and Rory Burns sustained some close shaves but settled in quite comfortably. Denly and Burns played all around the ground while the Caribbean pacemen enjoyed occasional extra bounce and jaffas to unsettle the opposition.
If showers interrupted play on the first two occasions, it was bad light and murky skies that intervened and stopped play for the day. Burns finished with 20 off 55 deliveries with three boundaries while Denly remained unbeaten on 14 off 48 balls with the identical number of fours. While the opening day did not go as desired or planned, the forecast remains bright for the remaining ones.