Archer returns but West Indies strike first in England decider
Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) –
England recalled fast bowler Jofra Archer as West Indies captain Jason Holder won the toss, elected to field and his side drew first blood in the deciding third Test at Old Trafford on Friday.
The visitors made a lively start as Kemar Roach had Dom Sibley plumb lbw for a duck after just five deliveries.
Archer, left out of England's 113-run win in the second Test at the Manchester ground for breaching the bio-secure regulations after making an unauthorised trip home, returned as one of two changes.
James Anderson, England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker, was recalled after being rested following the West Indies' four-wicket win in the first Test at Southampton.
With doubts over the bowling fitness of star all-rounder Ben Stokes, England dropped top-order batsman Zak Crawley to play an extra seamer, with left-arm paceman Sam Curran also left out from the side that levelled this three-match series at 1-1.
- 'Jofra ready' -
"Jofra is ready to play. Over the last couple of days he's got his smile back, he's bowled with real pace in the nets and he knows he's got the full support of the dressing room and the guys around him," England captain Joe Root told Sky Sports at the toss.
Crawley's omission saw Root move up to number three in the order and Stokes to four.
England's changes meant the veteran new-ball ball duo of Anderson and Stuart Broad were paired together for the first time this series.
Broad was retained after marking his England recall with six wickets in the second Test.
All-rounder Chris Woakes and off-spinner Dom Bess also kept their places.
Root had previously insisted that Stokes, who scored 176 and 78 not out, as well as taking three wickets, while climbing to the top of the Test all-rounder rankings in the second match of this series, would be fit to bat.
"We balance the side out as well we can," Root added Friday. "I'm not worried about (having one fewer batsman) at all.
"Woakesy as an all-rounder sort of replaces Ben as a like-for-like in many ways and the way we set up is very similar."
Holder, explaining his decision to field first, said: "We're going to bowl first, with the overhead conditions and we think there is a little bit of moisture in the surface so we're just going to try and make use of it."
West Indies made one change, with giant off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall selected for the first time this series in place of paceman Alzarri Joseph.
"It is just horses for courses," said all-rounder Holder.
"We felt in the last game there was enough there for the spinner so we decided to go for the frontline spinner. We think Rahkeem is a match-winner."
Victory for the West Indies, the Wisden Trophy holders, would see them secure a first Test series win in England for 32 years.
This series, played without spectators, marks international cricket's return from the coronavirus lockdown.
England: Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Root (capt), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wkt), Chris Woakes, Dom Bess, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder (capt), Shane Dowrich (wkt), Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel
Umpires: Michael Gough (ENG), Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
TV umpire: Richard Illingworth (ENG)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)
© 2020 AFP