Worldwide cricket resumed after a four-month coronavirus shutdown on Wednesday as England and West Indies gamers, who rekindled the highly effective imagery of clenched fists inside black gloves, took a knee underneath gray skies in Southampton in assist of the worldwide marketing campaign towards racial injustice. Solely 82 minutes’ play was doable on a day marred by rain and unhealthy mild interruptions after weeks of superb sunshine in Britain. England stand-in captain Ben Stokes gained the toss after unhealthy climate meant the morning session was washed out. The gamers gathered in a semi-circle on the pitch earlier than play began to watch a minute’s silence in reminiscence of the victims of the coronavirus and West Indies nice Everton Weekes, who died final week on the age of 95.
They then dropped to one knee in assist of the Black Lives Matter marketing campaign following the demise in the US of George Floyd in Could.
West Indies gamers wore black gloves on their proper fingers in an echo of the “Black Energy” protests made well-known by US athletes on the 1968 Mexico Metropolis Olympics.
Each groups are carrying BLM logos on their shirts throughout the three-match sequence.
All three Assessments are happening behind closed doorways at “bio-secure” grounds, with the primary on the Ageas Bowl and the second two at Outdated Trafford.
When play ultimately began, England misplaced Dom Sibley off the 10th ball, when he was bowled for a duck by Shannon Gabriel after not taking part in a shot.
England have been then none for one however had moved on to 35 for one when, after two rain stoppages, unhealthy mild pressured an early tea regardless that the floodlights have been on.
Recalled opener Rory Burns was 20 not out and Joe Denly 14 not out when play was finally abandoned for the day at 6:11 pm (1711 GMT).
Stokes, standing in for Joe Root, who’s lacking the primary Check because of the beginning of his second little one, spoke of the joy forward of the restart of cricket.
“I do know everyone has been craving this, actually from a gamers’ standpoint however I additionally assume from a spectators’ and followers’ view,” he mentioned on Tuesday. “It is a huge event for lots of people.”
However the skipper mentioned the dearth of a crowd was no purpose for England to let their requirements slip.
“We all know we’ve got that duty on our shoulders, to exit and do justice for all these folks,” he added.
Gamers and officers are staying at on-site lodges to cease the unfold of COVID-19 and bowlers will not be allowed to make use of saliva to shine the ball as a part of strict measures to regulate the unfold of the virus.
West Indies coach Phil Simmons praised directors for staging the sequence.
“It is an enormous blueprint for a way cricket can transfer ahead,” mentioned Simmons, whose aspect quarantined and skilled at Outdated Trafford from June 9 earlier than travelling south.
“We’re about to point out that different locations can begin placing issues collectively. The England and Wales Cricket Board should be counseled for all of the work they’ve carried out to get the sequence on the street and let’s examine what different international locations take from it.”
England unnoticed veteran paceman Stuart Broad, their second most profitable Check bowler behind James Anderson, who did begin, in addition to Chris Woakes.
West Indies omitted specialist spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, with batsman Roston Chase to supply some gradual bowling in assist of a four-man tempo assault of Kemar Roach, Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph and captain Jason Holder.
West Indies haven’t gained a Check sequence in England since 1988, however they maintain the Wisden Trophy after a 2-1 sequence win within the Caribbean final yr.
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