The long-awaited return to international cricket yielded only 17 overs as rain washed out the majority of the first day of the opening Test match between England and the West Indies, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
Ben Stokes became England’s 81st Test captain as he led the team in the absence of Joe Root and after a lengthy delay, he won the toss and decided to bat first at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The West Indies, however, made a brilliant start when fast-bowler Shannon Gabriel knocked over Dom Sibley for a duck in only the second over.
But, constant rain disruptions halted any sort of momentum throughout the afternoon that forced an early lunch and tea break before bad light stopped play in the final session with the umpires calling an early end to proceedings with England on 35-1.
In what also came as a big surprise on Wednesday morning, England opted for Mark Wood in place of the experienced Stuart Broad to partner James Anderson and Jofra Archer in the pace attack.
It brought a premature end to Broad’s 51 consecutive starts for England on home soil with many former players questioning the decision to leave the 34-year-old out of the team.
Both teams took a knee for 30 seconds before play got under way on Wednesday, while they will also wear the now famous Black Lives Matter logo on their shirt collars for the duration of the series.
Cricket united. An incredibly powerful moment. pic.twitter.com/2rSuTx4IPz
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 8, 2020