ESPNcricinfo– West Indies won the toss and chose to bat on the opening day of the first Test against England in Barbados.
England have selected three seamers and two spinners, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, meaning a resurgent Stuart Broad – who impressed during the warm-up matches, misses out. West Indies have opted for just the one spinner, Roston Chase, in addition to four quick bowlers.
West Indies captain Jason Holder said, “it’s a pretty good wicket,” and reiterated his call for his batsmen to step up. He also welcomed the return of Darren Bravo, playing his first Test in two years.
“He’s got a record here for a reason,” Holder said. “He’s been around for a number of years so we back him.”
England captain Joe Root, who admitted he would also have chosen to bat first if he had won the toss, said the strength of Sam Curran’s batting gave him the nod ahead of Broad.
“It was a bit of a gut call, Sam has been excellent,” Root said. “[The pitch] looks like it might be a little bit tacky this morning. If we can bowl well this morning it might [offer] a bit of spin.
“Stuart Broad is the one to miss out – a terribly difficult decision to make. It’s a really good place to be in. It’s up to the guys who are in to prove that they are right for this surface.”
The England team are wearing black armbands in memory of former England captain Andrew Strauss’ wife, Ruth, who died last month at the age of 46 after battling a rare form of lung cancer.
Meanwhile, Warwickshire have confirmed that fast bowler Olly Stone, who left the tour injured, has suffered a partial stress fracture to his left lower back.
Jim Troughton, First Team Coach at Warwickshire CCC, said: “We’re bitterly disappointed for Olly who has already had his fair share of injury heart ache.
“Getting himself into the England set up was a great achievement so the timing of this set back is a tough one for him.
“The science and medical staff at Warwickshire will work closely with Olly, in partnership with the England medical team, and hopefully we can have him back to bowling as soon as possible.”
West Indies 1 Kraigg Brathwaite, 2 John Campbell, 3 Shai Hope, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Roston Chase, 6 Shimron Hetmyer, 7 Shane Dowrich (wk), 8 Jason Holder (capt), 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Shannon Gabriel
England 1 Rory Burns, 2 Keaton Jennings, 3 Jonny Bairstow, 4 Joe Root (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Ben Foakes (wk), 8 Moeen Ali, 9 Sam Curran, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 James Anderson