By Sobhan Garnaik
Following a 117-days absence, Test cricket is back. After months of painstaking preparation, cricket’s hotly-anticipated return was held up not by bio-security conventions, the addition of saliva to a ball, or a shortage of hand sanitizer – however, by the climate.
It was a snapshot of festivity for cricket fans over the world as they witnessed the arrival of global cricket following three months. Unmistakably the match being played at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, The United Kingdom, among England and West Indies, was about something beyond the game. It was additionally about the sheer delight of live cricket.
After all the expectation, the very first moment of the first of three Tests ended up being a soggy stunt. In the event that any fans had been permitted in, they would have been sneering and griping as the players stayed in the pavilion for over an hour because of bad light, regardless of Southampton’s Ageas Bowl having floodlights.
During the three little windows of play conceivable, England dove in after stand-in skipper, Ben Stokes, their 81st in Tests, won the toss and decided to bat.
Rory Burns and Joe Denly drove the recuperation after the loss of Dom Sibley just ten balls into the innings. It resembled a decent toss to lose, with cloudy skies offering help for seamers, however, the pitch slowish underneath a firmer top.
Gabriel’s initial burst was marginally wayward on occasion. Yet, regardless of his status as a late addition to the squad after being asked to prove he had overcome his ankle injury, he consistently hit 90mph/145kph and discovered late swing as the ball passed the bat.
He nearly dismissed Denly in his fifth over, who edged him with hard hands through the empty fourth-slip region for four, while Roach nagged away from the Hotel End, landing the ball consistently on the off-stump channel.
After further rain delays, England, in the end, settled to their task. Burns was unrattled at 20 and Joe Denly on 14 when bad light brought them off in the eighteenth over – never to return.
West Indies have completely dominated the second day with captain Holder bagged six wickets, best figures by the lanky burly all-rounder.
The Windies skipper’s latest target was Mark Wood, who was caught magnificently by Shai Hope in fuss-free fashion. Jason Holder also dismissed Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler in quick succession as the Windies look to wrap up the English innings before tea.
While Stokes fell 7 short of a half-century, Buttler was caught behind when he was at 35. Then, England finally managed to get over the 200 marks as Shanon Gabriel grabbed the final wicket of Jamie Anderson, 204 all-out.
It would have been simple for Sky’s cricket coverage to follow where football has driven – to denounce the murder of George Floyd, voice its help for Black Lives Matter, and acclaim those players taking a knee to fight police mercilessness.
Instead, it went well beyond. In a mighty thirty minutes fragment, Michael Holding and Ebony Rainford-Brent talked genuinely and transparently about their racism encounters, and players and staff from the two groups took a knee before Kemar Roach’s first ball as an indication of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
England wore the names of crucial workers on their training shirts and observed a minute’s silence to recollect both the individuals who died during the pandemic and the late West Indies great Sir Everton Weekes, who passed on a week ago.
The hashtag #ENGvWI made it to the top of India trends chart as Indian cricketers and fans welcomed the return of cricket. Indian cricketers like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, R.Ashwin and numerous others, shared their joy in Tweets –