1St Test: Atkinson’S Record Haul; Crawley, Pope Fifties Put England On Top Against West Indies At Lord’S (Ld)


(MENAFN- IANS) London, July 11 (IANS) Gus Atkinson had a near-perfect maiden Test outing, claiming 7-45 to record the second-best bowling figures in an innings by an England debutant in Test history, on the opening day of the first Test against the West Indies on Wednesday. By stumps on the first day, England rode on half-centuries by opener Zak Crawley (76) and Ollie Pope (57) to reach 189/3 in 40 overs to take a 68-run lead, putting them on course for taking a stranglehold on the match.

On Wednesday, when all eyes were on James Anderson in his farewell match, it was Atkinson who claimed wickets in a flurry – his 7-45 was second only to Dominic Cork's 7-43 against West Indies at Lord's in 1995 and better than John Lever's 7-46 against India in 1976. Atkinson's superb bowling helped England bundle out West Indies for 121 in the first innings.

Anderson, whose daughter rang the traditional bell to signal the start of a Test match at Lord's, claimed one wicket for 26 runs in 10.4 overs. Anderson, who will be retiring after the ongoing Test against the West Indies after playing 188 games, was honoured by the England team and was asked to lead the side out on the field following the national anthems after skipper Ben Stokes elected to bowl first.

Atkinson began in style, snaring the West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite off just his second ball in Test cricket, getting the batter to play onto his stumps. Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Jason Holder, Joshua Da Silva, Alzarri Joseph, and Shamar Joseph all subsequently fell victim to the 26-year-old right-handed fast bowler Atkinson, who had a day to remember.

With Atkinson getting into the act, West Indies slumped from 88/3 to 121 all out in just about seven overs.

While Cork's debut had helped England to a 72-run win in 1995, against the same opposition at the same venue, Atkinson's figures have given Ben Stokes' side a huge advantage going into the second innings – West Indies were bowled out for 121 in the first innings, with England responding strongly later on day one, with Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope hitting fifties.

In their first innings, hosts England lost an early wicket, losing opener Ben Duckett for three at a score of 29 runs. Jayden Seales got the early breakthrough when he pitched one full and wide and Duckett went for a drive but only edged it behind to keeper Joshua Da Silva.

But Crawley and Pope rescued England with a 94-run partnership that took them past West Indies's first-inning score. They took England past fifty runs in 11.2 overs and then across 100 in the 24th over of the innings, going at a fair clip despite their progress being halted by bad light which stopped play with England 88/1.

Pope was the first to reach his fifty off 70 balls, hitting 10 boundaries. Crawley too completed his half-century, reaching the milestone off 74 balls, studded with nine fours. Jason Holder brought West Indies back into the game when he trapped Pope in front of the wicket, with the ball hitting the backfoot with a fine yorker.

Crawley was out soon after as England fell to 153/3 as a superb yorker by Seales sent the stumps cartwheeling as the ball, speared at leg stump, snuck under the bat.

Joe Root (15 not out) and Harry Brook (25 not out) were batting at the crease, having added 36 runs for the fourth wicket partnership.

Brief scores:

West Indies 121 all out in 41.4 overs (Mikyle Louis 27; Gus Atkinson 7-45) v England 189/3 in 40 overs (Zak Crawley 76, Ollie Pope 57, Harry Brook 25 not out; Jayden Seales 2-31). England lead by 68 runs.

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IANS

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