First Test, first day:Close of play report: England 348-3 (Cook 153* Malan 28*) v West Indies
Captains present and past scored untroubled centuries as England dominated West Indies on the first day of the inaugural day/night Test in this country at Edgbaston.
Joe Root, the incumbent, went to his hundred shortly before the end of the second session, and his predecessor Alastair Cook joined him as the floodlights took effect lending, in combination with a setting sun, an almost ethereal ambience to a special occasion. Root finally went for 136 after the pair had added 248 for the third wicket but by the close, Cook was still there, undefeated on 153.
Yet if England’s most experienced batsmen prospered, with Mark Stoneman and Tom Westley going cheaply, there were still no immediate answers to the questions of who will open with Cook in the Ashes this winter and who will make the No 3 position their own – if it does not end up having to be Root himself.
Root was dismissed when Kemar Roach was brought back with the new ball just six overs away; his full delivery found its way through the gate as the Yorkshireman aimed a loose drive at the ball, ending an innings that had occupied 189 deliveries and included 22 fours.
It brought Dawid Malan to the crease – another England batsmen still to convince he possesses real Test class – and the Middlesex middle-order batsman was lucky to survive when he aimed a slash at a wide one from the very occasional off spin of Kraigg Brathwaite and a sharp chance was spilled at slip.
He would not have revelled in the task of negotiating the second new ball in the trickiest conditions late in the day after a long wait in the dressing room but he did well enough, even producing signs of the fluent strokeplay he is appreciated for in county cricket before the ay was done.
Root had joined Cook with the score on 39 for two early in the first session as the West Indies’ four-pronged pace attack flattered to deceive.
Both, in truth, spent most of the day batting within themselves – it’s hard to believe that they have ever scored more trouble-free and predictable hundreds. There were still shots all around the wicket for Root – the picks a swivel pull through square leg for four and the usual sumptuous drives between point and extra cover – while Cook was as strong as ever off his legs and square of the wicket.
By lunch they had taken the score to 108 for two and, after a watchful start to the late afternoon session, began to pick off the West Indies quick bowlers with growing alacrity, adding another 107 runs before the shorter of today’s intermissions.
Consecutive boundaries off occasional spinner Roston Chase took Root to his 13th Test century. Cook, undefeated on 83 at the second interval, was not long in swapping a 36thTest fifty for a 31st century,
He had got off to a storming start after England won the toss and chose to bat – they knocked up 39 from the first six overs as they were treated to far too many four-balls by their opponents. When he got to his half-century, only ten of his runs had not come in boundaries.
Stoneman, on Test debut, and Westley had gone quickly, victims of Roach and Miguel Cummins respectively.
Roach, the most experienced of the West Indies attack, accounted for Stoneman, the 30-year-old Surrey opener, who, despite striking two fine fours, found himself back in the dressing room almost before he’d had time to appreciate his surroundings.But it was a gem of a delivery that got him. From the sixth ball he received, Roach wobbled the ball into middle and leg stumps and then nipped it past the left-hander’s outside edge to clip the off bail.
Westley also hit a couple of nice boundaries but was trapped in front in Cummins’ first over, the only surprise being that we had to wait for a definitive ruling from the third umpire after Marius Erasmus had judged it was missing leg. It was full, hit him low and barely forward and was clattering into middle and leg.
For long periods as Cook and Root built their stand, the West Indies bowled without inspiration. While Roach’s figures, two for 72 from 20 overs, were quite acceptable on a decent surface for batting, Alzarri Joseph, who had impressed in one-day international cricket against England earlier this year, struggled to find a decent line and length. His first spell lasted just three overs and disappeared for 25 runs. He had conceded 85 from 17 overs by the close.
Cummins, who possesses a slightly jerky action from which he delivers regularly back of a length, was economical enough without ever convincing that he possesses the skills to seriously inconvenience the better batsmen. And there was no joy for Jason Holder, the young West Indies captain who had looked so good with ball and bat when England last played a Test series in the Caribbean in 2015.
It was extraordinary, however, and perhaps indicative of a team already looking demoralised by the end of the first day of a three-Test series, that he should choose to end the day by putting the still relatively new ball which, under lights had swung considerably more than the first had during daylight hours, in the hands of Chase and Brathwaite.
(First Test, second session) England 215-2 (Cook 85*, Root 103*) v West Indies
Captains present and past made untroubled progress for England in the second session of the first Test against the West Indies at Edgbaston, with the incumbent Joe Root reaching an almost effortless 13th Test century just before the break.
Root struck poor deliveries from Roston Chase, an occasional spinner, for consecutive boundaries to take him to three figures as he and Alastair Cook added 107 in the late afternoon and early evening of the first day/night Test match in England.
They had taken England from 39 for two as the tourists made early inroads to 108 for two at lunch.and, after a watchful start to proceedings after the interval, began to pick off their opponents’ four-pronged paced attack almost at will.
Both, in truth, seemed to be batting within themselves although there were still shots all around the wicket for Root – the pick a swivel pull through square leg for four – while Cook, who had got off to a storming start in the first session, appeared to have bedded in for what would be his first Test hundred of the summer.
While Root went to his hundred with his 19th four, Cook had started the day with a flurry of boundaries, all but ten runs in his 36th Test fifty, which arrived just before the the end of the first session from 74 balls, coming in fours.
He lost Mark Stoneman, on Test debut, and Tom Westley in that session, with wickets for Kemar Roach and Miguel Cummins respectively.
Roach, the most experienced of the West Indies attack, accounted for Stoneman, the 30-year-old Surrey opener, who, despite striking two fine fours, found himself back in the dressing rooms almost before he’d had time to appreciate his surroundings.
From the sixth ball he received, Roach wobbled the ball into middle and leg stumps and then nipped it past the left-hander’s outside edge to clip the off bail.
Westley also hit a couple of nice boundaries but was trapped in front in Cummins’ first over, the only surprise being that we had to wait until Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, had referred it to the third umpire after Marius Erasmus’ not-out decision. It was full, hit him low and barely forward and was clattering into middle and leg.
There was some swing and seam movement for the West Indies pace bowlers, especially in the first session, but the pink ball was doing no more than the red one had done in the final two Tests of the South Africa series.
Reports from previous day/night Tests had suggested the pink ball would prove troublesome for batsmen in the twilight period but they have mostly been played in the southern hemisphere where darkness falls much earlier than in an English summer.
Indeed, the Edgbaston crowd, almost a sell-out, was treated to an afternoon and evening of bright sunshine.
First Test (session one): England 108-2 (Cook 50*, Root 40*) v West Indies
There was no immediate answer to the question of who should partner Alastair Cook at the top of the England order in Australia this winter as Mark Stoneman lasted into only the third over of the opening day of the first Test against the West Indies.
Stoneman, making his Test debut at the age of 30, was beaten by a beauty from Kemar Roach, bowling with the pink ball for the first time in an English international summer.
Stoneman, the Surrey opener, had started with two fine fours – one through extra cover and another off his legs through square leg – before his fledgling innings was cut short by a delivery that wobbled into him and then ripped viciously off the seam to clip his off stump.
He had barely had time to take in his new surroundings, finding himself back in the dressing rooom having faced only six balls.
Doubts over the problematic No 3 position were no nearer being assuaged either after Tom Westley failed – again after hitting two lovely fours, one straight and all the way along the ground – this time a leg-before victim of paceman Miguel Cummins.
Cummins was quick to be brought into the action by captain Jason Holder after Alzarri Joseph had struggled in his first spell, conceding 25 runs in three overs, and stuck with only his third ball.
A full delivery beat the Essex batsman’s rather loose attempt to clip the ball off his legs and was he was given out on review.
England had started in a flurry of boundaries, Cook looking in particularly good form – and 36 of the 39 scored in a rollicking first six overs came in fours.
Cummins and Holder began to slow England’s progress as Joe Root found himself at the crease earlier than he would have hoped but Cook continued his great form against the West Indies – he averaged 58 against them before the start – advancing to his fifty just before the break.His 56th Test half-century, it had taken 74 balls and included ten boundaries.
There was certainly some seam movement in the first session for the West Indies four-pronged pace attack – Shannon Gabriel was left out as he seeks full fitness – as they were given first use of the Dukes pink ball in the inaugural day/night Test in England after Joe Root won the toss and decided to bat.