Monday, July 15, 2024

England v West Indies: first cricket Test, day one – live

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Key events

The players are ready. Jimmy has the ball; Brathwaite waits for him. PLAY!

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More Jimmy as the anthems ring out, Rally followed by GSTK.

“Morning Adam, here we are.” Hello, Guy Hornsby. “A day of excitement tinged with real sadness. I was 28 when he first played for England. I was sad when Broad retired but I was there too, and it felt like just the end of the pairing only. I never warmed to him like I did with Jimmy until much later on in his career either. There are many players I’ve truly loved – Flintoff, Jones, Butch, Atherton, Hussain, DeFreitas, Malcolm, Small , Cook – but I was with Jimmy from his ODI against Australia at the start. No one else has meant so much or played for so long. I’m so glad I’ve got to see him play for England many times, and luckily got to meet him too. But I’m not ready for this. I’m definitely not ready for him to not play for Lancs.”

Suspect, per Jimmy yesterday, this might be his last game full-stop. We’ll see.

“Lamine Yamal was not even conceived when Jimmy made his debut,” adds Krishnamoorthy. “Let that sink in.” How about… he’d been playing international cricket for five years by the time he was born in 2007? A lot of that this week!

“Morning Adam.” Hi Simon McMahon. “Much like Andy Murray at Wimbledon, James Anderson has been part of the fabric of British sporting summers for the majority of the 21st century. A true champion, but also one who is about so much more than the bare statistics. Jimmy, like Andy, represented all that is good about sport. Incredible talent allied with hard work and dedication for sure, but also modesty, humour, and basic human decency. Favourite memories? I was at Old Trafford when James Anderson came on to bowl from the newly named James Anderson end for the first time, against South Africa (and took a wicket in his first over I think). And, in another Murray comparison, his teary eyed interview after Alistair Cook retired from Test cricket gets me every time.”

Lovely stuff. I’ll add a couple of my own memories though the morning.

And here’s the overseas TMS link for those wanting to get around geoblocks, etc.

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Jimmy’s daughters ring the bell together. His nose scrunched up as he tried to hide back the emotion – how does that not get to you? Special moments here at Lord’s.

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A further montage, this time the ECB’s with Nasser voicing it. They are playing it on the big screen as the England players wait at the top of the race in front of the long room, Jimmy half-watching (but paying attention), all eyes on him in the members.

And with that complete, the players have now made their way to line up for anthems.

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“To be (incredibly) tedious,” says Rob Little, “someone on twitter pointed out last night that Joey Benjamin, born in St Kitts, played for England – this make Mikyle Louis the first man from St Kitts to play a test for the West Indies, I believe?”

Good pick up!

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Jamie Smith is on Sky now with Athers. He’s a very mature and measured young fella and will have a job to do right away with the gloves. He’s asked about his wicketkeeping. “I’ve worked a lot with Ben Foakes and Alec Stewart and I’ve always had that at the top of my mind when the opportunities arise to ‘keep for Surrey.”

As I said off the top, Smith at No7 isn’t perfect – ideally, there would be a vacancy in the top six for a batter clearly ready for this next step. In the absence of that, this is the spot. It’s important to stress he isn’t a part-timer – he has taken the gloves in a third of the First Class games he has played and most of his white-ball outings too.

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Love the openers on days like today. Here’s Sky Cricket’s – a beaut.

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“My favourite Jimmy memory,” emails Richard O’Hagan, “is the time that he almost killed me. It was 23 August 2009, the day that England won back the Ashes (I am sure you remember). I had a seat on the bottom of the stand at the Vauxhall End of the Oval and was talking to friends as the England team warmed up in front of us. At one point Jimmy fired in an errant throw and, because I was talking to friends, I didn’t hear Graeme Swann’s shout of warning. The first I knew of the danger was when the ball whistled past my left ear. I know that there are a thousand batters out there who must’ve experienced something similar, but at least they were expecting it.”

An interesting opening! And a worthy topic: let’s talk Jimmy memories. Ping them in.

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A huge morning for Mikyle Louis. The man on debut is the first cricketer from St Kitts to play a Test Match. What do we know? Not a lot. The 23-year-old right-handed has played seven times for Leeward Islands and was in great nick towards the end of the domestic season to get on this trip with a ton and a few 50s in his last three hits. Then last week, against the County Select XI, he made a further half-century. Today, he’ll walk out at Lord’s alongside his captain to face JM Anderson with the Dukes.

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The teams as named yesterday and confirmed at the toss.

England: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Jamie Smith (wk), Chris Woakes, Gus Atkinson, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson

West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Mikyle Louis, Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Jason Holder, Gudakesh Motie, Alzarri Joseph, Shamar Joseph, Jayden Seales

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Stokes speaks at the toss. “It’s really exciting for Gus and Jamie coming in. They both have high ceilings and have earned their spot in this team. We are always looking to progress as a team. It’s been a while since we were together in India and we’ve taken a look at where we want to take it and push it as far as we can go.”

On Jimmy: “We can expect complete heart, desire and passion to win.” Simple.

Kraigg Brathwaite’s turn. Says they would’ve bowled too. “It’s important batting first at Lord’s and we have to believe. You have to believe to achieve. Think big.”

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Ben Stokes wins the toss, England are bowling first

The crowd roars (by Lord’s standards).

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Forget what I said about it being muggy. That was an impression gained, I realise now, from a peak-hour tube ride. I just went out to the balcony in front of the press box and it is chilly, blustery, and dark. Forget about how the pitch looks – it’s always the same here for a Test Match – it’s the overheads that make this bowl first, all day.

Looking for some pre-Test listening, by the way? On The Final Word pod that I host with Geoff Lemon, also of this parish, we had Jimmy’s great mate Greg James on a few weeks ago. He was excellent in telling the story of the Anderson from beyond the boundary, the one we don’t know that well despite 20+ years in the public eye.

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Preamble

Adam Collins

Adam Collins

“It’s a privilege to do this one last time.” It’s James Anderson Week at Lord’s, as the all-time great bows out this week after 188 Test Matches and 700-and-something Test wickets. The real privilege is sitting here at the Nursery End, ideally to watch him take the new ball this morning. That’s what either captain will surely do if the coin falls their way for it is muggy out there. But after days of rain, it is meant to stay away.

Of course, there’s more to this week than Jimmy alone. For starters, the hosts have two men on debut – Jamie Smith behind the stumps and Gus Atkinson to bowl as fast as he can. As Ben Stokes said quite clearly at his press conference yesterday, what we are seeing with his team this year is a transition to prepare for Australia. Sure, they want to win what’s in front of them, but they’re medium-term planning as well.

Those comments have prompted a bit of anger on the world wide web, but I think they’ve gotten this right. The only way to build for a future series is to use the current matches – there’s no clever in-between option. If they want Smith and Atkinson (and Pennington and Potts) to be battle-hardened Test players by the time India rock up here in 12 months time, and then for the Australian tour that follows, this is the time to put in the groundwork. It isn’t perfect, but selection seldom is. Time will tell.

As for the West Indies, for all the doom and gloom about the direction of travel with their Test cricket, don’t forget they knocked off Australia at the Gabba in stirring style back in February, their most recent start. The man who made that possible was Sharmar Joseph, who snared 7/68 on a magical Brisbane afternoon. We should be so lucky for the visitors, under veteran Kraigg Brathwaite, to perform just as well over the next three weeks. I’ll run through their team in a bit more detail as we go.

Right, let’s leave it there for the time being. As always, you can reach me via email or on the artist formerly known as twitter. We are about 15 minutes away from the toss.

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