SOUTHAMPTON, England – The West Indies, as expected, opted to go with a four-man pace attack to face hosts England in the first Test match, which starts today. The action was delayed by rain. England win the toss and will bat first.
Meanwhile, England team news sees paceman Stuart Broad missing out with the home side going with James Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood as the three frontline seamers.
Ben Stokes will captain England in the absence of Joe Root, while Jason Holder leads the West Indies.
“We’re going to bat first, the reasons being that we’re trying to get the best out of the conditions,” Stokes noted. “With the overheads here there was a little bit of discussion around it but it didn’t change our initial thought process.
“The pitch does feel quite hard on top but it’s not going to have too much pace to it and in recent times spin has come into later on in the game so hopefully we can put some pressure on and get first-innings runs on the board.
“We’ve Woody, Jofra, Jimmy and myself. Obviously a very, very tough decision with Broady and Woakesy as well but we feel that with Woody and Jofra’s pace it adds another dimension to the options that we can have.
“There was obviously some disappointment but the two lads missing out took it like champions and understood the reasons.”
Holder says the West Indies are not overly disappointed to be bowling first with Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph supporting Holder.
“We’re not too disheartened to be bowling first. Overhead conditions suggest we should be able to get something out of it,” the Windies skipper said.
“We’ve gone with four quicks, Roston Chase will give us a spin option then we’ve got six batters.
“Discipline is the name of the game, we’ve done a hell of a job over the last couple of Test matches so the emphasis is on our bowlers to keep putting their hands up and lead the charge for us,” he added.
England: Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Zak Crawley, Ben Stokes (capt), Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, James Anderson.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shamarh Brooks, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel.
Umpires: Richard Kettleborough, Richard Illingworth; TV umpire: Michael Gough.