Joe Root encouraged by bowler effort as England start new era with West Indies draw

England captain Joe Root spoke of his satisfaction with their effort of his bowling attack as they drew the First Test against the West Indies in Antigua.

The home side ended their second innings four wickets down after a Jack Leach three-for reduced the Windies to 67-4.

But 35.4 over resistance by first dig centurion Nkrumah Bonner and star man Jason Holder saw off any notion of a surprise win on a featherbed pitch.

His batsmen had made the opportunity count in their batting effort, with three England batsmen – Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow (140), Zak Crawley (121) and Root himself (109) – adding to their ton tally in the same Test for the first time since 2016.

England captain Joe Root appeals for the wicket of John Campbell during their drawn first test with the West Indies in Antigua.

“I'm really pleased with the way we played, especially give the position we were in after that first hour,” said Root, who now has 24 Test centuries and 13 as captain – the most of any skipper in England test history.

“The guys stayed calm and showed great maturity to get us to a total, especially off the back of a difficult winter and a difficult year where we've not scored anywhere near enough runs.

“The way the guys stuck at it, especially having one bowler down as well, showed a huge amount of character and it was a huge step forward in many respects,” Root continued.

“No-one stopped believing or gave up all day. We really did give ourselves the best chance of winning this game.”

England looked a little light in the bowling department, though it’s felt more will be learnt about them on a less docile pitch.

Ollie Robinson missed the first Test because of a back injury, but returned to training during the match, while uncapped duo Saqib Mahmood and 24-year-old Yorkshire test rookie Matthew Fisher are the other seam-bowling options in the squad.

England left out legendary pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad, their top two leading wicket-takers in Tests, for this series, but neither is understood to be on the list of reserves.

“Mark will be assessed in Barbados and we'll see how he is when we get there,” said Root.

“It's bitterly disappointing for him because you know how much it hurts him. He'll never let anyone down and he's a wholehearted player.”