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Atkinson’s magnificent seven scuppers West Indies for 121

Gus Atkinson of England holds the ball aloft after he finished with figures of 7 for 45 during day one of the First Test Match between England and West Indies at Lord’s Cricket Ground on July 10, 2024 in London, England.
| Photo Credit: Getty Images

England debutant Gus Atkinson upstaged James Anderson’s farewell by taking a sensational seven wickets as the West Indies collapsed to 121 all out on Wednesday’s opening day of the first Test at Lord’s.

The build-up to the three-match series had centred on England great Anderson’s last appearance in the five-day game following a record-breaking Test career that has yielded 701 wickets — the most by any fast bowler at that level.

But Surrey quick Atkinson stole the spotlight with a remarkable haul of 7-45 in 12 overs — including three wickets in just one over.

Anderson, by contrast, did not add to his tally of Test wickets until he had last man Jayden Seales lbw to end the West Indies innings.

West Indies debutant Mikyle Louis top-scored with 27 as the tourists were dismissed inside 42 overs.

England were 30-1 in reply at tea after Ben Duckett was caught behind off Seales for three.

Having played just one warm-up match and with inexperienced top-order batsmen Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze and Kavem Hodge holding only nine caps between them before this Test, it was little surprise the West Indies struggled after losing the toss in overcast conditions.

West Indies were 88-3 when Atkinson, who had already taken two wickets before lunch, came on to bowl the 35th over.

With his second ball of the over he had Athanaze caught by Joe Root in the slips for 23.

Atkinson produced a superb delivery with the next ball that Jason Holder, returning to Test cricket after nearly a year’s absence, could only edge to Harry Brook in the cordon.

Anderson overshadowed

Joshua Da Silva survived the hat-trick but next ball he too fell for a duck, an inside edge caught by wicketkeeper Jamie Smith, who along with Surrey team-mate Atkinson was also making his Test debut.

Atkinson had taken three wickets for no runs in four balls, with his final figures, after he accounted for Alzarri Joseph and Shamar Joseph, ranking as the second best by an England bowler on his Test debut behind Dominic Cork’s 7-43 against the West Indies at Lord’s in 1995.

Earlier, Anderson was thrust straight into the action when England captain Ben Stokes won the toss and elected to field.

But despite a probing new-ball spell of five overs for 11 runs, the 41-year-old Anderson was unable to dislodge West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite or fellow opener Louis.

At the other end, Chris Woakes was lofted for a dismissive legside six by the 23-year-old Louis, the first West Indies Test cricketer from St Kitts.

West Indies were looking to Brathwaite, appearing in his 90th Test, to make a significant score.

But he fell for just two when he chopped onto his stumps as Atkinson struck with only his second ball in Test cricket.

Louis’ promising 58-ball innings ended shortly before lunch when he fell to a brilliant low catch by the diving Brook at third slip off Stokes.

West Indies’ plight was summed up when Hodge fell for 24 after a fierce square cut off Woakes was well caught by Ollie Pope at point, the batsman sinking to his knees in disbelief.

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