WEST INDIES TOUR OF ENGLAND 2024

Debutant Atkinson headlines England's day of domination

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Gus Atkinson returned figures of 7 for 45
Gus Atkinson returned figures of 7 for 45 © Getty

A terrific bowling performance from Gus Atkinson on debut, followed by a dominant batting display from Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope, put England in a strong position against West Indies at the end of Day 1 of the first Test at Lord's. West Indies, who started the second session at 61/3, ended up being bowled out for a lowly 121 as Atkinson became the seventh Englishman to pick up seven in an innings on debut - his 7/45 only bettered by Dominic Cork's 7/43 against West Indies at the same venue back in 1995. England then rode on Crawley's 76 and Pope's 57, scoring 159 in the final session at a run-rate of 4.9 to go into stumps on Wednesday (July 10) at 189/3, leading by 68 runs.

The debutants shone for both teams with England's regular strikes helping them gain ascendancy in the first session after the hosts opted to bowl. The 23-year-old opener Mikyle Louis, playing his first game for West Indies, began confidently striking regular boundaries along with a pick-up shot for a six off Chris Woakes, while the experienced Kraigg Brathwaite struggled against the moving ball. Despite his probing lines, the 41-year-old James Anderson playing his farewell Test, couldn't pick up a wicket in his first spell. Atkinson then came into the attack and made a good first impression as he accounted for the wickets of Brathwaite (inside edge onto the stumps) and Kirk McKenzie (caught at second slip).

The focus was also on Ben Stokes and his fitness, with the England captain having decided to skip the IPL and the T20 World Cup to get back to optimum shape. He brought himself at the start of the 14th over and bowled till the close of the first session, bowling eight overs in his first spell. He was moving the ball both ways and mixing his lengths to keep the batters guessing. His persistence eventually reaped reward as Louis got a thick outside edge to third slip where Harry Brook pulled off a stunning one-handed catch. Anderson, brought back into the attack, and Stokes bowled till the end of the first session but Hodge and Alick Athanaze saw through to Lunch without any damage.

The second session started with Atkinson bowling a short ball to Kavem Hodge who put it away for a four, signalling intent straightaway after a watchful first session in which West Indies scored at just over two an over. Athanaze brought out the straight drives against Woakes for two successive boundaries in the next over. Although he wasn't completely in control, Hodge also dispatched a short ball from Atkinson for a six. While Woakes tested Athanaze a bit coming around the wicket, the left-handed batter did not have any problems against Atkinson when he drove one through covers for another four. Atkinson, however, hit back to have Athanaze edge to first slip, ending a 44-run fourth wicket stand, and then dismissed Holder for a first-ball duck.

Joshua Da Silva ensured Atkinson did not bag a hat-trick but fell soon after, getting an inside edge to hand debutant wicketkeeper Jamie Smith his first catch. Atkinson, in the process, became the ninth England bowler to bag a fifer on Test debut at Lord's. The milestones continued for the England bowlers as Pope took a sharp catch when Hodge cut one hard off Woakes, giving the bowler his 150th Test wicket. Joseph decided to take the attack to England, striking four fours in an over off Atkinson, but he fell on his sword looking for a big one. Atkinson then picked up his seventh by having Shamar Joseph top-edge a pull but he couldn't become the first England bowler to pick up eight in an innings on debut as Anderson wrapped up West Indies' innings by trapping Jayden Seales in front.

England's openers started cautiously in the first three overs, with only three runs coming off them, before Crawley struck two consecutive boundaries off Seales. Ben Duckett had a lucky break as Louis put down a simple catch at point to deny Alzarri Joseph a wicket in the fifth over. Crawley got a boundary in the same over, just about clearing mid on. Seales ended the opening stand on the brink of Tea by getting Duckett to edge to the 'keeper. Pope started positively after the break and West Indies didn't have any luck going their way as Pope first reversed a leg-before decision given in Jason Holder's over before the same bowler watched on disappointed as West Indies' review for a leg-before decision against Crawley didn't yield any positive returns.

Meanwhile, the light meters were brought out regularly with the greying clouds overhead before the umpires decided to take the players off the field briefly for bad light. West Indies' bowlers were a lot tighter with their lines when the players returned, which meant the scoring rate slowed down a touch. But it was only a while before the boundaries started coming again, with a four apiece off Joseph helping Pope and Crawley bring up their half-centuries. England's second wicket pair extended their partnership to 94 as they helped their side into the lead before Holder gave West Indies some respite by having Pope out lbw.

But the frequency of boundaries increased as Root played a late cut off Seales while Crawley targetted Joseph, scoring four boundaries in two overs, although a couple of them were thick outside edges. He also struck a four off Seales before getting bowled by a yorker in the same over as Crawley got out in the 70s for the seventh time in his career, failing to convert his last six 50-plus scores into a 100. Root and Brook then added an unbroken 36-run stand, with the latter scoring 25 of those runs, including three fours, as they led England into Stumps with a handy lead.

Brief scores: West Indies 121 (Mikyle Louis 27, Kavem Hodge 24; Gus Atkinson 7-45 Ben Stokes 1-14) trail England 189/3 (Zak Crawley 76, Ollie Pope 57; Jayden Seales 2-31) by 68 runs.

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