Smith shines as woeful Windies head for Lord’s defeat

by Pelican Press
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Smith shines as woeful Windies head for Lord’s defeat

Jamie Smith has become the second debutant in as many days to leave his mark on England’s revamped Test side, hitting a sparkling 70 against an outclassed West Indies at Lord’s.

After fellow newcomer Gus Atkinson claimed seven wickets in the first innings, Smith introduced himself in style as the hosts hurried into a match-winning position after two days.

His punchy effort at No.7 lifted England to 371 all out, a domineering lead of 250 and the perfect platform to apply serious pressure with the ball.

The tourists bucked badly in response, crumbling to 6-79 to make an innings defeat on Friday a virtual certainty.

That included two wickets for James Anderson taking his total to 703, five behind Shane Warne’s tally.

However Atkinson dismissed Jason Holder with the day’s last ball to push Warne’s mark out of Anderson’s reach.

Smith leapfrogged 100-cap veteran Jonny Bairstow and Surrey team-mate Ben Foakes to get the nod in a new-look XI as England began to rebuild with the Ashes 2025/26 series in mind.

He came to the crease after Harry Brook (50) had helped Joe Root (68) extend England’s overnight lead of 68 to 133.

The 23-year-old hit eight fours and two powerful sixes in an eye-catching cameo that justified the selection panel’s leap of faith.

He showed off a well-honed technique in a sensible stand of 52 with Chris Woakes then moved quickly through the gears when joined by the tail, scoring his last 28 runs off 30 balls and blazing Jayden Seales out of the ground with one brutal pull.

“I’ve always worked towards playing for England, so I’m just taking it all in,” said Smith. “I’ve loved it so far, it is the most amazing feeling having the backing of all the team to go out there and perform.”

By the time Smith was last out it was already clear that the West Indies were undercooked. The tourists’ last Test was the memorable win in Brisbane in January and they had one warm-up game in England.

They offered glimmers of their ability, Gudakesh Motie bowling Ben Stokes with a ball that spun viciously out of the rough and Mikyle Louis producing a sensational piece of fielding to run out Shoaib Bashir, but as a unit they fell well short of the required standard.

Only Holder (20) and Alick Athanaze (22) got out of the teens when they batted again. After Anderson made the breakthrough, nipping one back to dismiss captain Kraigg Brathwaite (4) Ben Stokes took his turn in the spotlight.

In having Kirk McKenzie lbw for a duck he became the third player to reach the double milestone of 200 Test wickets and 6,000 Test runs, following Caribbean great Sir Garfield Sobers and South Africa star Jacques Kallis.

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