Southampton, July 8 England ended Day 1 of their first Test against West Indies on 35/1 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton as the return of cricket after the nearly three-month long break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic turned out to be a rainy affair. Joe Denly and Rory Burns held fort after Burns' opening partner Dom Sibley fell early in the innings to Shannon Gabriel.
Only 82 minutes of play was possible, all of it in the second session of the day in which 17.4 overs were bowled. The toss was conducted after Lunch in which England's stand-in skipper Ben Stokes chose to bat first. Both teams took a knee before the start of the proceedings to honour the Black Lives Matter movement.
Kemar Roach began the attack with Shannon Gabriel and the latter dismissed Sibley off the fourth ball of his first over. The 24-year-old left a ball that swung in and hit his stumps. The umpires led the players back to the dressing rooms after the next over before they came back 20 minutes later.
The return however didn't last long as rain returned after seven balls and the players ran back into the pavilion. The action resumed almost 50 minutes later and this time, Burns and Denly saw out the spells of Roach and Gabriel.
West Indies captain Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph replaced them and after the fourth ball of the 18th over bowled by the latter, umpires halted play and led the players off the pitch once again. Tea was called for soon after. Rains then lashed the ground and just over an hour later umpires called stumps.
Burns has made 20 runs off 55 balls while Denly is on 14 off 48. Both batsmen have hit three fours each. Gabriel remains the only wicket taker and gave 19 runs in his five overs while Roach bowled six and gave away just two.
Brief Scores: England 35/1 (Rory Burns 20, Joe Denly 14; Shannon Gabriel 1/19) vs West Indies.
( With inputs from IANS )