July 08, 2020, is a massive day in cricket as the captivating game is finally making its return after it was put on hold across the world due to the spread of coronavirus. England and West Indies are playing the opening Test of the three-match series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
However, the much-awaited toss in the first game since COVID-19 outbreak had to wait a little longer as the rain played its part in England and delayed the proceedings. The original timing of the toss was 10:00 am local, but it took place at 1:30 pm.
England’s stand-in captain Ben Stokes won the toss and decided to bat first. But, in the process, Stokes forgot to follow social distancing norms and mistakenly offered to shake hands with West Indies skipper Jason Holder.
As soon as Stokes did that, he realised his mistake and took his hand out of the way. After the incident, both Stokes and Holder couldn’t control their laughter. The commentators also found the episode funny and advised the English captain to sanitise his hands.
Another important thing which was new in the toss segment was that there was no camera operator; instead, the robot interviewed both the captains.
Sanitise those hands, @benstokes38! 💦
England's captain wins the toss and chooses to bat in a new-look toss as Test cricket returns. 🏏
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) July 8, 2020
“We are going to have a bat and trying to get the best conditions out of it. Overhead conditions didn’t change our perception. The pitch looks dry on top. Won’t have too much pace in it. Recently spin’s come into it—a tough decision with Broad and Woakes,” said Stokes.
“But we feel that we can have an extra dimension with the pace of Wood and Archer. To be fair, he (Broad) wished me very well on my big day. Very proud, but my main focus is to get the win. Three lions on the chest, walking out to play for your country, no bigger motivation,” he added.
Holder said: “Not too disheartened with bowling first. Will look to make use of these conditions. We’ve got four quicks. Got Chase as a spin-bowling option. The discipline’s the name of the game. It has been a little strange. Haven’t been able to move out of the hotel. It is what it is. Preparation’s been good. Some days we had rain. It’s a cause we’re both pushing – to have the Black Lives Matter emblem on the collar.”
Here are the playing XI of both teams:
Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Zak Crawley, Ben Stokes(c), Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler(w), Dominic Bess, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, James Anderson.
John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich(w), Jason Holder(c), Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel.