The wait is finally over. The much-awaited day has finally come as international cricket is all set to resume once again after-action around the world came to a halt in March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. England and West Indies are all set to lock horns against each other in the first of the three-match Test series at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton to kickstart international cricket.
If the pandemic does not end anytime soon, this series is likely to become the template for other countries to follow to play international cricket. The series will take place behind closed doors and in bio-secure stadiums. Players and officials will live at the on-site hotels at each ground and be screened daily for symptoms and regularly tested for COVID-19 based throughout the match.
The ICC has also confirmed teams will be able to substitute any player who shows signs of COVID-19 during a Test match. Saliva ban, non-neutral umpires, extra DRS reviews are some of the other changes that will be seen in the series as cricket attempts to get back on track.
The experience will be different for the players as well as fans in these testing times but there is no denying that a good contest between the bat and ball is all that the cricket world is hoping for.
Both the teams will be short on match experience although they enter the game on the back of an intra-squad warm-up game. West Indies had stunned England in the home series last year and will be looking to replicate that performance again while the hosts will be eyeing the revenge.
The toss has been delayed due to rain and wet outfield. There’s going to be an early lunch taken at 12.30 local (5 pm IST). It’ll be followed by an inspection at 1.10 pm (Local time).
15:00 (IST)08 JUL 2020
Not so good news because it has gone dark at the ground and the toss for the first Test has been delayed. Keep your fingers crossed again!
Latest Update from the ground
Covers are coming off in Ageas Bowl, Southampton. It has stopped raining but keep your fingers crossed, please!
Its started again
A typical English weather at the Southampton with rain coming on and off! Here is the latest snap from the Ageas Bowl.
Umpire inspect the ground
After a break of 117 days, the coin has been tossed for the first time where Jos Buttler’s England won the toss and decides to bat first against West Indies.
England Playing XI – Broad left out
Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Zak Crawley, Ben Stokes(c), Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler(w), Dominic Bess, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, James Anderson.
West Indies Playing XI – Jermaine Blackwood over Rahkeem Cornwall
After the toss, England’s Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley steps inside the crease to face the West Indies. Rory Burns is on strike. West Indies Kemer Roach will open the attack against England.
Shannon Gabriel strikes! He has the first wicket post resumption. He angles one on the stumps, Sibley lets it go only to hear the stumps being disturbed. He is out for a duck. What a start! ENG- 0/1. After facing 10 balls Sibley left to Pavillion without scoring any.
After two rain delays, the West Indies are back out in the field! After 5 overs, England are 3-1! | Shannon Gabriel is 2-1-2-1.
12 overs down and England are going along nicely since Dom Sibley’s dismissal. England looking steady after a difficult start at 28/1. Burns 15* Denly 13*.
After a long wait for the return of test cricket, only 17.4 overs were bowled as the rain, bad light and a wet outfield interfered with play throughout the day. England closed on 35/1 with Sibley dismissed for a duck by Gabriel.