England vs West Indies: Gus Atkinson takes seven wickets on debut at Lord's as James Anderson begins final Test

July 10, 2024

Gus Atkinson took seven wickets on a sizzling England debut as he ripped the headlines from the retiring James Anderson and rolled West Indies for 121 on day one of the Lord's Test.

The series opener is Anderson's 188th and final Test for England with management wanting to focus on constructing a side able to regain The Ashes in Australia in the winter of 2025-26 - which, on this early evidence, Atkinson could form a key part of.

The notoriously shy Anderson, 41, was given a tremendous reception from the Lord's crowd ahead of play on Wednesday, at the venue where he took a five-wicket haul on debut versus Zimbabwe in 2003.

However, he was outshone by Surrey seamer Atkinson (7-45) as the new boy became the eighth England bowler to bag seven wickets on Test debut and the second this year after spinner Tom Hartley achieved the feat against India in Hyderabad in January.

England closed on 189-3 to lead by 68 with Ollie Pope (57) and Zak Crawley (76) sharing a busy second-wicket stand of 94, one that was briefly paused by bad light in the final session before the evening ended in the glorious sunshine that is also forecast for day two.

Earlier, Atkinson struck with his second ball as West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite (6) chopped on, while he claimed three wickets in four balls in the 35th over, including Jason Holder for a golden duck, amid the tourists losing four wickets for no runs from 88-3.

Anderson picked up the final wicket of the innings - his first of the match and the 701st of his glittering Test career - when he pinned Jayden Seales (2) lbw, sparking another huge Lord's roar.

But the day belonged to Atkinson, who, admittedly while dismantling a highly-inexperienced West Indies batting line-up, showed there will be life after Anderson as Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum's men build for that Ashes assignment in 16 months' time.

Atkinson sizzles as West Indies crumble

Atkinson's pace and hostility could be crucial in Australia and he was too hot for West Indies to handle in overcast conditions on a slow pitch in England, rewarded for attacking, accurate lines and his wobble-seam variations after being introduced in the 11th over.

After bowling a driving Brathwaite off an inside edge, Atkinson had Kyle McKenzie (1) caught at slip attempting a similar shot in his third over and did not concede a run until his fourth as he entered lunch with figures of 2-2 from five overs, four of them maidens.

West Indies - for whom Mikyle Louis top-scored with 27 before he was out to a stunning one-handed slip catch from Harry Brook off Stokes - dug in before and after lunch, with Kavem Hodge (24) and Alick Athanaze (23) sharing a stand of 44 from 44-3.

Atkinson broke that partnership when he nicked off Athanaze and carnage then ensued, with Holder clipping to slip next delivery.

Joshua Da Silva fell for a blob two balls after that, inside edging behind to Atkinson's Surrey team-mate and fellow England debutant Jamie Smith - Smith having been selected as wicketkeeper ahead of regular Surrey gloveman Ben Foakes and Test veteran Jonny Bairstow, principally due to his batting prowess.

West Indies lost a fourth wicket in eight balls when Pope's screamer of a catch at backward point removed Hodge and handed Chris Woakes his 150th Test breakthrough in his first match in the format since being named Player of the Ashes last summer.

Alzarri Joseph (17 off 9) counterpunched temporarily for West Indies, whipping and lofting Atkinson for four sublime boundaries in the 37th over, before he and namesake Shamar Joseph (0) were caught swiping Atkinson in the 39th to leave the tourists 106-9.

England in charge of Lord's Test as series gets under way

At that point, Atkinson was eyeing becoming the first England bowler to take eight wickets on Test debut, only for Anderson to end that hope when he trapped Seales leg before to end the innings in 41.4 overs.

Anderson had been given the first over of the day but both he and Woakes were arguably a little short in the first half hour as Louis - the first man from St Kitts to play Test cricket for West Indies - and Brathwaite batted diligently, with Louis also hitting Woakes for six.

There was not much swing on offer for Anderson and Woakes but that changed once Atkinson and Stokes - the latter now confident he can fulfil full all-rounder duties once again after successful knee surgery - came on to bowl, with Stokes getting through an eight-over spell prior to lunch.

West Indies' high-quality pace attack - Holder, Seales and the Josephs - found some movement, too, with Seales forcing Ben Duckett (3) to snick behind, but Crawley and the occasionally frenetic Pope batted proactively as England eased past the tourists' teeny total.

Pope successfully reviewed an lbw dismissal off Holder on 33, thanks to Crawley's encouragement, with the delivery set to bypass his leg stump but he was eventually pinned in front by the same bowler.

Crawley was then bowled leg stump by a crackerjack delivery from Seales - the England opener has now failed to convert his last six Test half-centuries into three figures - with Harry Brook (25no) and Joe Root (15no) the unbeaten batters at stumps.

Watch day two of the first Test between England and West Indies at Lord's live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.15am on Thursday.

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