Stubborn half-centuries from Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes were vital to England as they fought off the bowlers in the West Indies after Jason Holder decided to line up first under cloudy conditions.
After the rain delayed the start by an hour and a half, the West Indies hoped to take early gates, as in Southampton. Sibley and opening partner Rory Burns contested the bowlers until shortly before lunch when Roston Chase pushed one past Burns’ inside edge to catch him at the LBW.
England vs West Indies Day 1 Highlights
STUMPS— ICC (@ICC) July 16, 2020
Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes have now put on 126 runs for the fourth wicket 🏴
Can Windies make an early breakthrough tomorrow?#ENGvWI SCORECARD ▶️ https://t.co/y31bzumDq7 pic.twitter.com/BKtxdqdK1L
Chase resumed the game after the break and made it two to two, with Zak Crawley helping the ball into the hands of Leg Slip. Returning captain Joe Root survived the hat-trick ball and began rebuilding at Sibley.
The pair had added 52 when Alzarri Joseph made the breakthrough and pulled an edge to Root with a full, swinging delivery. Joseph has now taken Roots Wicket in four of the five innings the English skipper hit against him.
Ben Stokes joined Sibley and the two continued to run against an attack that was exhausted by both their efforts in Southampton and the departure of Shannon Gabriel from the field several times a day. Sibley scored a second fifty in as many innings and took 164 balls to reach the landmark with only two borders.
Stokes fought largely without his usual flair, although there were occasional aggressions, especially against Chase, whom Stokes had planted at most in the last game before tea. From the first ball in the 71st century, Stokes picked up three to register its half century – out of 119 balls – and spawned the first hundred partnerships in the series.
Sibley and Stokes only fought their way to stumps occasionally, especially when Holder dropped Sibley as he slipped. Windies decided against the second new ball, which became available two overs before stumps. England will resume tomorrow from 207/3 and is well-positioned to score an impressive total of first innings.