Cook and Root prosper under lights in first day-night Test
England stalwarts put on 248 for the third wicket at Edgbaston as West Indies toil
History was made at Edgbaston on Thursday when England hosted the West Indies in the inaugural day-night Test in England. It's only the fifth Test to be played under lights since Australia and New Zealand met at Adelaide in November 2015, and it suited the English pair of Joe Root and Alastair Cook.
Sharing a magnificent stand of 248 - a record for the third-wicket in Edgbaston Tests - the duo helped themselves to centuries against a West Indies attack that was alarmingly mediocre.
Once Caribbean pacemen terrified English batsmen with their ferocity but in Birmingham the eyes of Root and Cook widened only in delight as they were served up a succession of inaccurate deliveries, the pair finding the boundary 22 times in the first 26 overs.
Root needed just 139 balls to reach three figures, while Cook was a little less flamboyant as he surpassed Graham Gooch's total of 5,917 runs to become the leading Test run-scorer in England.
The former captain finished the day unbeaten on 153, his tenth score in excess of 150 which equals the record held by Len Hutton, Wally Hammond and Kevin Pietersen. Root was dismissed for 136, bowled with the pink ball by Kemar Roach as day turned to night.
The pair had come together within the first hour after debutant Mark Stoneman and Tom Westley had both been dismissed, but any hopes the Windies harboured of springing a surprise on the first day were soon ruthlessly crushed by Root and Cook.
"Today was about making sure if we got into a position of strength, we'd drive it forward," said Root. "It's something we did well in the last two games and to do it today is brilliant, but it'll mean nothing if we don't back it up tomorrow."
Asked how he found the innovation of day-night Test cricket, the England captain described the atmosphere inside Edgbaston as "electric", but he also admitted he could have adapted better to the conditions. "The twilight period didn't go well for me but for the guys at the back end there - that seemed to be the danger period in other games - and the guys at the end did really well."
No one, however, coped with the conditions as poorly as the tourists. It's generally agreed by those who have played in day-night Tests that batting against the pink new ball is most challenging under lights, but West Indies bowled only six overs of pace with the second new ball when they could have bowled ten, prompting their bowling coach Roddy Estwick to send a message out to the middle.
"We didn't have one of our better days," he said later. "We were poor... it was a lack of concentration and we need to learn from it very quickly. We discussed that after 80 overs we would need to take the new ball as quickly as possible, but we didn't take it so we had to send a quiet reminder to the captain. It was disappointing."