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England crumble in West Indies first Test

By AAP Newswire

The West Indies have dominated the second morning of the first Test against England, with Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder taking full advantage of bowler-friendly conditions to leave the hosts reeling at 5-106 at lunch.

England began Thursday on 1-35 after only 17 overs were completed on the opening day in Southampton, but their top order crumbled under murky skies as experienced paceman Gabriel struck twice in the first hour.

Gabriel had bowled Dom Sibley on Wednesday and produced a similar 145km/h delivery which nipped back in to take Joe Denly's off stump in the sixth over of the day.

In his next over, the 32-year-old Gabriel trapped opener Rory Burns (30) in front of his stumps with a full delivery and, while the umpire turned down his vociferous lbw appeal, the West Indies successfully reviewed to leave England struggling at 3-51.

That brought Ben Stokes to the crease and he was able to get off the mark in his first match as England captain, in the absence of Joe Root, by pulling Gabriel to the boundary.

Zak Crawley looked anything but secure in reaching 10 and was on his way back to the pavilion after another excellent review by visiting skipper Jason Holder.

Holder's delivery angled back in and struck the pad and, while again the appeal was turned down, the DRS review gave Holder his first wicket.

Stokes and Ollie Pope produced a few boundaries as they looked to launch a counter-attack but Pope went for 12 when he was squared up by Holder and edged behind for a routine catch by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich.

It might have been even worse for England shortly before lunch when Alzarri Joseph tempted Stokes into hooking and Kemar Roach failed to hold a diving catch at long leg.

Stokes (21no) and Jos Buttler (9no) will need to rebuild England's innings after lunch.

International cricket returned after a 117-day absence on Wednesday because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The match is being played without fans in a "bio-secure environment" with daily health checks for everyone in the ground, home umpires and a ban on shining the ball with saliva.