Who Will Win the First Test between England and the West Indies?

Author: Last Updated: July 9, 2024

It’s taken us to the second week of July for England to play their first home Test of the summer. They face the West Indies at Lord’s and it’s going to be an emotional match. That’s because it’s the final Test for James Anderson. Can he go out with a win?

Anderson’s Farewell

All good things have to come to an end eventually. James Anderson is now 41 years of age and made his test debut in 2003. Since then he’s taken 700 test wickets, more than any other fast bowler.

It’s been announced that this week’s match will be his final test for England. He’s still in great form though and recently took 7-35 for Lancashire against Nottinghamshire. Anderson is 11/2 at bet365 to be named Player of the Match. You can get 6/4 at William Hill on him being England’s top wicket-taker in the first innings.

England are 1/6 with bet365 to win this match.  While this test is of course important, it’s the two others that won’t include Anderson that will be fascinating.

There are some new faces, especially in the fast bowling selections. Nottinghamshire’s Dillon Pennington has received his first call-up after taking 31 wickets in the country championship this season. Gus Atkinson of Surrey will make his test debut. He toured India in the winter but didn’t play a test.

Surrey’s Jamie Smith will be keeping wicket and Shoaib Bashir will be England’s spin bowler. Back in the squad is Chris Woakes who hasn’t played since the Ashes last summer.

The batting line-up again looks strong. Batters such as Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope and Joe Root should give the West Indies a tough time.  Ben Stokes is again captain and might even be able to bowl a few overs as well as make the England batting line-up even stronger.

Crawley and Duckett (who’s already scored a double century this season) have given some stability to England’s opening partnership. It’s 8/15 at BetVictor that they have the highest opening partnership in this test match. England fans will of course hope that James Anderson will prevent the West Indies getting off to a good start.

Improving West Indies

The days when the West Indies came to England and dominated the home side are long gone. They did win their last home series against the English side in 2022/23.

Away from home though, their last series win over England was in 1988 when winning 4-0. It’s 17/2 at William Hill  that they win this match with a draw being 8/1.

It won’t be a walkover for England though as the West Indies played well in their winter tour of Australia. They managed to draw that two-match series 1-1, a better result than England usually achieves down under.

Jason Holder is back after playing in T20 cricket rather than test matches. He missed the T20 World Cup through injury but is expected to be fit to play in this test series.

They will be missing Kemar Roach who was injured playing county cricket for Surrey. That is a big blow for them as he’d taken 18 wickets for Surrey this season. 

Jayden Seales has also been out injured but has taken 24 wickets for Sussex this season so has to be feared.

While the West Indies bowling line-up looks strong, they’ve been having problems with their batting. Tagenarine Chanderpaul had four innings against Australia and only scored 31 runs, so he’s been omitted. In comes uncapped opening batter Mlkyle Louis.

He was the top scorer in the 2023-24 West Indies Championship and will create history if selected. That’s because no player from St Kitts has played test cricket for the West Indies. He’s 5/1 at William Hill to be their first innings top scorer.

As is often the case for touring sides, they need to adapt to English conditions. The ball may well be swinging more if it’s cloudy above and that’s Anderson territory.

The West Indies have a mix of youth and experience but a bet on England to win this match looks the obvious selection.

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