/Cricket: West Indies win toss, elect to bat v England in first test

Cricket: West Indies win toss, elect to bat v England in first test

(Reuters) – West Indies captain Jason Holder won the toss and elected to bat in the first test against England at Bridgetown on Wednesday, with the visitors dropping veteran paceman Stuart Broad to field two spinners.

Cricket – West Indies v England – First Test – Kensington Oval Barbados, Bridgetown, Barbados – January 23, 2019 General view as players line up before the test Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

The hosts have recalled top-order batsman Darren Bravo, who will make his first test appearance in more than two years.

“He’s (Bravo) been around for a number of years,” Holder said. “He’s a player with some class and we back him to do a job.

“It looks a pretty good wicket. It might do a bit in the first hour, but we back our batsmen to get through it.

“It tends to have a bit of variable bounce, so we expect that to come into play. We’ve got to be consistent in all three departments.”

Fresh off their series victory in Sri Lanka, England captain Joe Root has decided to pick Surrey fast bowler Sam Curran over Broad to share the new ball with James Anderson.

Root said the bowling selections were tough to make but he expected the pitch to assist his two spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali.

“They are terribly difficult decisions to make with the strength of our squad,” Root added.

“It shows how much depth we have. It is the responsibility of the guys playing to prove they are the right guys to play on this pitch.

“We would have looked to bat first. It (pitch) might be a bit tacky this morning and then improve over the next few days. If we bowl well, it might give a bit of spin as well, there will be plenty there for us.”

The visitors will look to stabilize their top order during the series as they build towards the home Ashes clash against Australia in August, and decided to continue with openers Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings, with Jonny Bairstow at number three.

England have not won the last two tours to the West Indies, with only one series victory in the Caribbean since the 1960s.

West Indies XI: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Shane Dowrich (wicketkeeper), Jason Holder (captain), Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel

England XI: Rory Burns, Keaton Jennings, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Ben Foakes (wicketkeeper), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, James Anderson.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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