1st Test: Atkinson’s record haul puts England on top against West Indies at Lord’s

London: Pacer Gus Atkinson had a near-perfect maiden Test outing here on Wednesday when he claimed 7-45 to record the second-best bowling figures in an innings by an England debutant in Test history, giving the hosts the upper hand against the West Indies.

On the opening day of the first Test, when all eyes were on James Anderson in his farewell match, it was Atkinson who claimed wickets in a flurry – his 7/45 was second only to Dominic Cork’s 7/43 against West Indies at Lord’s in 1995 and better than John Lever’s 7-46 against India in 1976.

Atkinson’s superb bowling helped England bundle out West Indies for 121 in the first innings.

Anderson, whose daughter rang the traditional bell to signal the start of a Test match at Lord’s, claimed one wicket for 26 runs in 10.4 overs.

Anderson, who will be retiring after the ongoing Test against the West Indies after playing 188 games, was honoured by the England team and was asked to lead the side out on the field following the national anthems after skipper Ben Stokes elected to bowl first.

Atkinson began in style, snaring the West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite off just his second ball in Test cricket, getting the batter to play onto his stumps. Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Jason Holder, Joshua Da Silva, Alzarri Joseph, and Shamar Joseph all subsequently fell victim to the 26-year-old right-handed fast bowler Atkinson, who had a day to remember.

While Cork’s debut had helped England to a 72-run win in 1995, against the same opposition at the same venue, Atkinson’s figures have given Ben Stokes’ side a huge advantage going into the second innings – West Indies were bowled out for 121 in the first innings, with England responding strongly later on day one, with Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope hitting fifties.

Brief scores:

West Indies 121 all out in 41.4 overs (Mikyle Louis 27; Gus Atkinson 7-45) against England.


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