ENG v WI 2024, ENG vs WI 1st Test Match Report, July 10 – 14, 2024

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England 293 for 6 (Crawley 76, Root 68, Pope 57, Brook 50, Motie 2-25) lead West Indies 121 (Atkinson 7-45) by 172 runs

England cruised to a 172-run lead on the second morning at Lord’s but were pegged back by Gudakesh Motie, who vindicated his selection by dismissing Ben Stokes and Joe Root. West Indies’ bowlers were put under constant pressure as England added 104 runs in a 28-over session, but Motie’s two wickets checked their progress.
After Harry Brook fell for exactly 50, Root cruised to his 93rd 50-plus score in Test cricket and moved into the format’s top-ten highest run-scorers in the process. But he fell shortly before the lunch interval for 68, becoming the second England batter bowled by an exceptional delivery from West Indies’ old-school left-arm spinner.

Stokes’ first international innings of the season lasted only 11 balls, with Motie knocking his middle stump out of the ground. Bowling his first over of the morning session, Motie tossed the ball up and found sharp turn after landing it on a footmark. It spun back past Stokes’ bat, leaving him open-mouthed before trudging back to the pavilion.

And in the penultimate over before the interval, Root was left smiling in disbelief after losing his off stump to the same bowler. Motie went wide on the crease and bowled his arm ball with an upright seam. Root shaped to punch into the off side but the delivery drifted in sharply then deviated even further off the pitch, beating the bat and crashing into the stump.

It showed why Motie was picked for this Test, having lost his place to Kevin Sinclair for West Indies’ victory over Australia at the Gabba in January: Sinclair, the offspinner, is the superior batter but Motie is some way ahead as a bowler. He took 2 for 22 in his seven unchanged overs on the second morning, and should have been brought into the attack sooner.

With an overnight lead of 66 and only three wickets down in their first innings, England made steady progress during the first hour. Brook dominated the scoring in a 91-run partnership with Root, scoring heavily square of the wicket as if to demonstrate the slow nature of this Lord’s pitch.

He brought up his half-century – his 12th fifty-plus score in 13 Tests – with a back-foot punch for two, but did not add another run. He fell in tame fashion when top-edging a hook through to Joshua da Silva off a wide Alzarri Joseph bouncer: it was a reminder of Brook’s mixed record against the short ball, which Australia exposed during last summer’s Ashes.

But Root progressed serenely, increasing his tempo through the session after a relatively slow start to his innings. Like Brook, he scored most of his runs square of the wicket, the highlight being a left-right punch off Joseph: he rolled his wrists on a pull off a short ball, then whipped the follow-up inswinger off his pads to bring up consecutive boundaries.

Jamie Smith seized on Motie’s drag-down to score his first Test runs during a brief partnership with Root, worth 33. Smith scored only seven runs off his first 34 balls, an uncharacteristically cautious start, but showed his class with consecutive boundaries off Jayden Seales shortly before Root’s dismissal.
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