Big picture: Anderson enters the endgame.

It has already been an emotional week for the greats of British sport. At Wimbledon on Thursday, Andy Murray turned on the waterworks by bidding farewell to Center Court, with a final acceptance that his body was now too weak to keep up with his indomitable passion.

By contrast, that same afternoon at St Wilbass, and then three days later at Silverstone, Mark Cavendish and Lewis Hamilton proved what a champion’s mentality can still achieve when fate finally dictates. You have been suffering from fever for a long time.

And now, we arrive at Lord’s on Wednesday, where another unsung summer of British sport will begin his five-day farewell. As with each of the three men mentioned above, James Anderson never knew when to quit, and if it weren’t for the march of time, he wouldn’t have had a reason to. “I don’t really have a choice, do I?” Asked if he was at peace with the decision to retire after his 188th Test – even after a brilliant 7 for 35 for Lancashire at Southport last week – he demurred.

But, as Anderson himself may recall from the circumstances of his England debut – 21 years and a few weeks ago on the same ground – the international game has, at some point, reverted to being a young man’s game. At the time, it was Andrew Caddick who, after taking ten wickets in England’s previous Test in Sydney in January 2003, never played for his country again. Only real measures of progress.

This is not where England find themselves after a tough winter tour of India. But, in the wake of a 2-2 Ashes draw in New Zealand in February and a careless piece of spoils, Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum find themselves in an unusually urgent need to win the series – for a team An oddity whose early success was largely based on ignoring their endgame.

So their changing of the guard, with Jonny Bairstow, Bizball’s original pin-up, forced to bow to the reality of his lackluster comeback, and Ben Foakes sent off for failing to hit the highest notes of aggression. Which requires team morale. Stuart Broad is also out of the picture, 12 months away from just one home Test, meaning the future will be on this England team before it has time to take stock.

What can the West Indies do to knock this future off its stride? Possibly, more than many other teams could collect. Because if England’s approach has, in essence, been about high doses of good vibes, they are coming up against a team with a proven ability to raise their game against these particular opponents.

As the current holders of the Richards-Botham Trophy, the West Indies have not lost a home series against England in two decades and counting, and if the challenge that awaits them in a poor English season is likely to be that much tougher, So they will come armed. A core of key senior campaigners, not least the returning former captain Jason Holder, and a fast-bowling contingent that will be the envy of many of their Test opponents.

Either way, the West Indies are not letting the emotion of the occasion distract them from their mission, with more than one player expressing their intention to “ruin” Anderson’s farewell. Hopefully the weather doesn’t get there early during the unsettled forecast for the coming week. There will be plenty of humidity at Lord’s by the time he bowls his last ball.

Farm Guide

England LLLLW (Last Five Tests, Most Recent First)
West Indies WLDL

In the spotlight: Gus Atkinson and Shamar Joseph

Yeah, yeah, so there’s really only one fast bowler on anyone’s lips at the moment, but with Anderson hating the spotlight, it makes sense to hand it over to the two new kids on the Test block.

Gus Atkinson He has already been England’s go-to man for the best part of a year, but after boozy roles on two senior tours of India – 4-1 before Christmas and 4-1 after Christmas – for this disappointing World Cup campaign. For a less than disappointing Test defeat – Lord’s would serve as the grand unveiling of a quick that has excited many in-the-know onlookers indeed. Over and above his smooth attributes as a 90mph fast bowler, Atkinson’s hunger for the big stage would seem to mark him. His best displays to date have come when there has been the most to prove, not least the high-octane duel with Jos Buttler in last year’s Hundred. Dillon Pennington and Matthew Potts wait to see when Anderson bowls his last ball, but Atkinson has been handed the first dubs of the new era.

If Atkinson can make it half as effective. Shamar Joseph If they are successful in their first Test series, England will do exceptionally well. After five wickets on debut in a spirited personal display in Adelaide, no performance of recent vintage has come close to matching the raw, blistering pace with which Joseph followed up in Brisbane, as Australia returned to their former stronghold at the Gabba. It was scattered to the four corners. . His figures of 7 for 68 in 11.5 brutal straight overs were limited by Josh Hazlewood’s flat off-stump and victory gallop for the ages. It would be a different level of expectation now, of course – and his one-wicket haul for Lucknow in this year’s IPL was early evidence that not all his spells would be simply pleasant. Nevertheless, he comes as a serious cog in a serious pace attack, and England will be forewarned.

Team News: Changes in England

No Bairstow, no Focus, no Tom Hartley, no Mark Wood. Only two of those names are likely to feature again for England as Bazball 2.0 prepares to be released. Instead, re-enter Harry Brooke at No. 5, back after missing the tour of India due to the death of his grandmother, and welcome back the Surrey duo of Atkinson and Jamie Smith, whose credentials include Rob. have increased since then. Witnessed his astonishing quick-fire century for England Lions in Sri Lanka two winters ago. He doesn’t keep wickets for his county – oddly enough the man he replaces holds that honour. But then again, neither Shoaib Bashir earns a place in the first team at Somerset. England are more excited about the extent of the talent of such players than the facts of their current professional status. Mind you, the return of Chris Woakes, the reigning Compton Miller medalist after his heroics in last summer’s Ashes, is the opposite. He is not a more long-term option than Anderson, but he commands an average of 11.33 in the last five Tests at Lord’s. Given that England haven’t won a complete series since 2022, getting the W on board is still a priority.

England: 1 Zach Crawley, 2 Ben Duckett, 3 Ollie Pope, 4 Joe Root, 5 Harry Brooke, 6 Ben Stokes (captain), 7 Jamie Smith (wicket), 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Gus Atkinson, 10 Shoaib Bashir, 11 James Anderson

The unfortunate absence of Kemar Roach, who sustained a knee injury on county duty with Surrey, has not affected the quiet confidence of a West Indies side that has been overly reliant on Craig Brathwaite’s top-order batting. May be proven, but he definitely has. More than enough bowling tools to give Stokes’ batsmen a serious run for their money. The challenge, as so often in recent competitions, comes in the batting. With the debut confirmed at the top of the order for Mikael Lewis – the first St Kitts player to win a Test cap for the West Indies – four of the top six will have played nine Tests between them. Godakesh Moti dropped Kevin Sinclair for the lone spinner’s spot, a potential clincher with Moti’s recent success against England’s batsmen in white-ball cricket.

West Indies 1 Craig Brathwaite, 2 Mikael Lewis, 3 Kirk McKenzie, 4 Alec Athanaz, 5 Kevin Hodge, 6 Jason Holder, 7 Joshua Da Silva (WK), 8 Godakish Moti, 9 Al-Zari Joseph, 10 Shimar Joseph, 11.

Pitch and Conditions: A cold and damp day is the order of the day.

The weather promises to be cold, intermittently rainy and clearly under the influence. It all sounds great for the fast bowlers on display, given the old cliché at Lord’s where you look up, not down. Even with the old ground’s flat-deck reputation, however, this season is taking Michael – as Glamorgan’s Sam North East can attest after overhauling Graham Gooch’s legendary 333 in April, which in NW8 Highest score ever. Jayden Sales had a similarly atrocious run out for Sussex against Middlesex at Lord’s in May, when a total of 18 wickets fell in four days.

Stats and trivia: Anderson holds his last place in history.

  • Anderson, currently on 700 Test wickets, needs nine in the match to overhaul Shane Warne’s mark of 708, and is second on the all-time Test wicket-taking list behind Muttiah Muralitharan (800). have gone
  • Stokes, who is expected to return to full bowling fitness after knee surgery in November, needs two more wickets to reach 200 in Tests, after 17 Tests and close to two years in the 190s.
  • West Indies keeper Joshua De Silva needs eight more runs to reach 1000 in Tests.
  • However, the rivalry has been particularly intense at home and away in the past decade. Since 2015, the two teams have won six and lost six of 15, with one win each in their last two visits to England in 2017 and 2020.
  • Quotations

    “This week will be about Jimmy, and rightly so. But I can tell you his main focus is to go out there, take wickets and try to win this match for England. I’m sure When we get it done here. Saturday, when everything else will take care of it but he’s eager to go out there and put on a winning performance for England.”
    Ben Stokes On Anderson’s swing

    “It’s a young group, especially the batsmen, they have a lot of time to learn because obviously playing Test cricket takes a little time to really understand.”
    Craig Brathwaite Backs him up to compete.

    Andrew Miller is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket

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