Thursday, July 25, 2024

England vs West Indies: Gus Atkinson’s 7-45 shows life after James Anderson

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Atkinson has been threatening an England breakthrough for some time. Already with nine one-day internationals and three T20s to his name, he was part of the squad for the Test tour of India earlier this year.

West Indies openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Mikyle Louis looked relatively comfortable against Anderson and Chris Woakes, only for the introduction of Atkinson’s extra pace in the 11th over to bring instant rewards.

With his second delivery in Test cricket, Atkinson got Brathwaite to drag on. His first over averaged 87.86mph, England’s second-fastest first over by a debutant in the ball-tracking era, behind Steven Finn. In his third over, Atkinson had Kirk McKenzie edge to second slip in an overall spell of five overs, four maidens, 2-2.

The 26-year-old was trusted with the ball straight after lunch and repaid Stokes’ faith with the first triple-wicket maiden by an England bowler in Test cricket since Stuart Broad in 2011. Alick Athanaze nicked to first slip, Holder edged his first ball to third slip, then Joshua da Silva survived the hat-trick before inside-edging the next delivery to keeper Smith.

It was uncomplicated from Atkinson, who slipped in down the slope from the Pavilion End. He hit a top speed of 90.4 mph, found a touch of movement from a full length and also sprinkled in regular bouncers.

When Alzarri Joseph was held at mid-on and a tangled Shamar Joseph got caught at point, Atkinson had the best figures by an England debutant since Dominic Cork against West Indies on this ground in 1995.

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