Two days out, England name starting XI for first Test against West Indies

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England will hand debuts to the Surrey duo of Gus Atkinson and Jamie Smith for the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s, which begins on Wednesday.

Chris Woakes also returns to the XI, his first Test appearance since being named player of the series in last summer’s Ashes, while offspinner Shoaib Bashir makes his home debut after three Tests in India at the start of the year.

Atkinson, who has made 12 appearances for England in white-ball cricket, was unused on the tour of India but has been earmarked as a long-term pace option, registering in the late 80s and early 90s mph at his most fluent.

A breakthrough 2023 summer saw him earn selection for the ODI World Cup, though he was omitted for this summer’s T20 World Cup.

This season, he has taken 14 County Championship wickets at 29.78 for Surrey, who lead Division One.

Smith, meanwhile, will assume the gloves as England move beyond Ben Foakes and Jonny Bairstow.

The 23-year-old has been in fine form across all formats and marked his maiden call-up with his second first-class century of the season.

He is currently Surrey’s top-scorer with 677 Championship runs at 56.41 with a strike rate of 76.67. He earned two ODI caps against Ireland at the end of last summer and will slot in at No. 7 with Harry Brook returning to the No. 5 position having missed the India series following the death of his grandmother.

Ben Stokes slots between the pair at six, and is back to fulfilling his allrounder duties, which has allowed for the selection of Bashir.

After impressing with 17 wickets in India, England underlined their faith in the spinner by selecting him in the squad ahead of Jack Leach, despite the fact Bashir had to move on loan to Worcestershire for first-team opportunities with Leach the No. 1 spinner at Somerset.

Woakes adds to that balance as an option with the bat, and will likely be an ever-present this summer in what is set to be a transitional period for England with the impending retirement of James Anderson. (ESPNcricinfo)

England XI: ⁠Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, ⁠Ollie Pope, Joe Root, ⁠Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (capt), Jamie Smith (wk), Chris Woakes, Gus Atkinson, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson

West Indies Test squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), Alick Athanaze, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Kavem Hodge, Tevin Imlach, Alzarri Joseph (vc), Shamar Joseph, Mikyle Louis, Zachary McCaskie, Kirk McKenzie, Gudakesh Motie, Jeremiah Louis, Jayden Seales, Kevin Sinclair

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