England v West Indies talking points: How will pink ball affect first Test

Joe Root
Joe Root
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England will face West Indies in their first day-night Test in this country at Edgbaston on Thursday.

But what lies ahead for Joe Root and co? Here's five five talking points ahead of the action.


The first day-night Test in England is a venture into the unknown, as members of each team have acknowledged. Home preparation has amounted to a round of mid-summer Specsavers County Championship matches under lights, in which meaningful participation through Joe Root's squad was sporadic - for a variety of reasons, including injury and bad weather. Several of the West Indies squad have banked one day-night Test experience, in the contrasting climes of Dubai where they lost narrowly to Pakistan, thanks to a triple-century from the hosts' Azhar Ali last October. Despite their respective taster sessions, no one involved - on their own admission - knows what to expect from the pink Dukes under lights over the next five days.


The latter, on all evidence. In England this century they have been singularly unsuccessful on Test tours. Their last win in any Test on these shores came at this ground back in 2000 - a series they went on to lose 3-1. Since then, the Windies have been soundly defeated by a combined scoreline of 11-0 over four successive trips. Optimism at the start of each campaign has been cruelly short-lived, and although new coach Stuart Law has been talking a decent game, the odds are against the tourists once again. They are ranked a lowly eighth in the world and an overdue resurgence may prove wishful thinking.


The primary task for West Indies' brittle and evolving batting line-up is to somehow keep James Anderson and Stuart Broad at bay. At 31, four years his great pace partner's junior, Broad needs just another five wickets to go second in England's list of all-time leading wicket-takers - behind only his new-ball chum and above the great Ian Botham. Anderson was in brilliant form in the recently-concluded 3-1 victory over South Africa and has taken his Test career tally to 487. Only five bowlers in cricket history have so far topped the 500 mark, and the two seamers to have done so finished short of 600. West Indies will do mighty well to stall Anderson's progress over the next three Tests.


England's new captain Joe Root could reflect after last week's series-sealing win at Old Trafford against South Africa on an enjoyable first series in charge. His follow-up campaign ought to be a formality, according to most pundits, as England seek a handy morale boost en route to the Ashes this winter. Root has already had one jarring reality check, though, when England faltered alarmingly in the second Test at Trent Bridge - where they copped flak for an over-adventurous approach with the bat and paid for any failings with a 340-run trouncing. They will be wary of complacency against the Windies, who are notably unheralded but in several instances an unknown quantity too.


Mark Stoneman is, remarkably, the 12th new opening partner England have picked alongside Alastair Cook since the retirement of Andrew Strauss five years ago. At 30, Stoneman is curiously long in the tooth for a debutant too. It is slightly disconcerting that England have not previously chosen him when they had the opportunity but none of that means the Surrey left-hander is not at last the answer to the selectors' problem position.