The England vs West Indies First Test match started under the canopy of dark clouds after a forced break of nearly four months. The morning was lost to rain and England won the toss and chose to bat first against the Indies. In the second over, England lost Dom Sibley who was bowled by Shannon Gabriel off the 10th ball.
England were 1-1 when rain intervened and stopped the game. The team came back to score two more runs for seven balls after which rain again stopped their play. The game witnessed moments where the players paid their respects to the Black Lives Matter movement and the victims to COVID-19 pandemic.
Ben Stokes, the stand-in captain of the England team for Joe Root spoke about his excitement for the restart of the game.
“I know everybody has been craving this, certainly from a players’ point of view but I also think from a spectators’ and fans’ view,” he said. “This is a massive occasion for a lot of people.”
He also added that the absence of crowd was no reason for the team to play below their standard. “We know we have that responsibility on our shoulders, to go out and do justice for all those people,” he added.
The players from both the teams and the officials are staying at the hotels located on-site of the stadium. The bowlers are not allowed to use saliva on the ball to shine it or keep their caps and towels with the umpire to stop the spread of the virus.
Also read about the ICC’s new Saliva Rule here
Phil Simmons, the coach of West Indies praised the England and Wales Cricket Board for the strict measures and strategies during the break.
“It’s a huge blueprint for how cricket can move forward,” said Simmons.
“We’re about to show that other places can start putting things together. The England and Wales Cricket Board have to be commended for all the work they have done to get the series on the road and let’s see what other countries take from it.”
In the England vs West Indies First Test match, England left out Stuart Board, the team’s second most successful Test bowler, behind James Anderson as well as Chris Woakes.
The Indies team omitted Rakheem Cornwall, the spinner with batsman Roston Chase to introduce slow bowling. This strategy is specially made to support the four-man pace attack of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph, and Jason Holder, the captain of the West Indies team.
Opener Rory Burns was 20 not out and Joe Denly 14 not out when play was finally abandoned for the day. Since 1988, the West Indies have not won a single Test series in England.