The first day of the first test between England and the West Indies was cut short by rain and bad light as international cricket made it’s return at the Ageas Bowl in Hampshire. England. When the umpires decided to call it a day after just 17.4 overs of play, England were on 35-1 after losing the early wicket of Dom Sibley.
After rain made the two sides wait for three hours to get started, the West Indians and Englishmen stood in a semi-circle around the pitch to observe a minute’s silence for those who perished in the Covid-19 pandemic and in honour of West Indies Legend Sir Everton Weekes, who died on July 1.
Following the minute’s silence, the players accompanied by umpires Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth took up their respective field positions and all dropped to one knee, with the West Indies players raising a black gloved hand. The England opening pair, Rory Burns and Dom Sibley, knelt at the crease with the rest of the England players and support staff kneeling at the boundary in resounding solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The day’s play was reduced to three short periods of play possible. England had won the toss and stand-in captain Ben Stokes elected to bat with Rory Burns and Joe Denly leading a recovery of sorts after the loss of Sibley after a mere 10 balls into the innings.
West Indies pace Roach opened the bowling and immediately found movement off the seam, while in his first over back in action, Shannon Gabriel swung one off the seam which Sibley left alone, only to have his off stump rattled.
Gabriel consistently hit 90mph/145kph during his five-over spell and almost had Denly caught behind in his fifth over, through an edge which flew through the gap at fourth-slip.
Having weathered Roach and Gabriel, the pair of Burns and Denly found the going slightly easier against Alzarri Joseph before bad light brought the game to a halt at tea.
A further bout of drizzle and dark clouds kept the teams off the field until umpires Kettleborough and Illingworth called it a day.
When play resumes tomorrow, opener Burns will be on 20 (55 deliveries, 4×3) while Denly is on 14 (48 deliveries, 4×3). Bowling for the West Indies, Roach was the most economical with figures of 0-2 from six overs (4 maidens) while Gabriel picked up the only wicket (1-19 from 5 overs). Jason Holder got in three overs with one maiden and conceded three runs while Alzarri Joseph’s fourth over was interrupted and ended the day with figures of 0-11 (3.4 overs, 1 maiden).
First ball tomorrow is set for 11:00hrs (6:00hrs Guyana Time).