Cricket-England in command after debutant Atkinson tears through Windies batters

By Hugh Lawson

LONDON (Reuters) -England were in the driving seat against West Indies at 189 for three at the close, giving them a lead of 68 after seven wickets from debutant Gus Atkinson helped them bowl out the tourists for 121 on day one of the first test at Lord’s on Wednesday.

Joe Root was not out on 15 with Harry Brook on 25, after boundary-studded innings of 76 from Zak Crawley and 57 from Ollie Pope put the home side ahead on an overcast day.

Earlier, England fast bowler Atkinson took seven wickets for 45 runs while James Anderson, playing in his 188th and final test before retirement, claimed his 701st wicket as the hosts dismissed the West Indies in just under 42 overs.

Atkinson took three wickets in four balls at one point, just missing out on a hat-trick, and recorded the best figures by an Englishman on debut since Dominic Cork’s seven for 43, also against the West Indies, in 1995.

Anderson meanwhile is third on the all-time test wicket-takers list and needs seven more to join Australian Shane Warne (708) in second place behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800).

Mikyle Louis, the first man from the island of St Kitts to play test cricket for the West Indies, was his side’s top scorer with 27 in an otherwise forgettable innings for the tourists.

Atkinson claimed the wicket of the visitors’ captain Kraigg Brathwaite (6) with his second ball and dismissed left-hander Kirk McKenzie for one soon after.

Louis then became Ben Stokes’ 199th test wicket, putting the England skipper one short of an all-rounder’s double of 200 wickets and 6,000 test runs, a feat only before achieved by West Indian Garry Sobers and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis.

With successive balls Atkinson removed Alick Athanaze for 23 and Jason Holder, back in the touring side’s squad after nearly a year away, for a golden duck.

Two balls later, Atkinson had Joshua da Silva caught behind by wicketkeeper Jamie Smith for a duck, leaving the West Indies in deep trouble on 88 for six.

Chris Woakes took his 150th test wicket when he removed Kavem Hodge for 24, and Atkinson dismissed Alzarri Joseph (17) and Shamar Joseph for another duck before Anderson brought the West Indies innings to a close with the wicket of Jayden Seales on two.

In reply, England lost Ben Duckett (3) early to the bowling of Seales before Pope and Crawley began hitting 11 and 14 fours respectively that took England past the Windies total.

Pope was eventually trapped leg before wicket by Holder, and four overs later Seales ripped Crawley’s stumps out of the ground with a perfect yorker, bringing Brook to the wicket to join Root.

(Reporting by Hugh Lawson, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis)






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