Spinner Roston Chase made the breakthrough for the West Indies with the last ball before lunch just as England looked like negotiating the first hour of day one of the second Test in gloomy Manchester on Thursday.
The tourists’ pacemen struggled to apply any pressure on England’s openers as play began 90 minutes late and under lights at Old Trafford. Chase was handed the final over before the break by captain Jason Holder and trapped Rory Burns lbw for 15 with the second delivery.
Burns chose to review, but replays showed the ball was hitting the top of middle stump.
England went into lunch on 29-1 after 13.2 overs, a disappointing start to a tough morning for the hosts at least off the field.
England was without fast bowler Jofra Archer, who was excluded from the team for breaching isolation protocols by returning to his home in Brighton on Monday as the squad transferred from Southampton to Manchester. With James Anderson and Mark Wood rested for the match, England had a completely new specialist pace attack featuring Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran.
Returning England captain Joe Root then lost a toss that was delayed because of wet weather, and Holder had no hesitation putting the English into bat even though no team has won on the eight occasions it has chosen to field first in a test at Old Trafford.
The radar of West Indies’ fast bowlers was off, particularly Shannon Gabriel, who produced a comically bad first over that included five wides when one of his deliveries flew wide of the pitch and all the way to the boundary. Gabriel lost his run-up and had to abort his first delivery, and was wayward through most of his three overs.
Holder gave Gabriel and Kemar Roach only three overs each before removing the strike bowlers, but Burns and Sibley (8 not out) continued to be unflustered until Chase struck.
Chase was at it again just after the lunch interval, as Zak Crawley, fell to leg slip.
The West Indies, which named an unchanged team, won the first Test in Southampton and are looking to seal a first series victory in England in 32 years. (Sportsmax)