Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, admitted his surprise at England’s decision to omit Stuart Broad from their XI in the first Test of the three-match series, saying he expected either Jofra Archer or Mark Wood to sit out.
The decision to drop Broad, who is 15 shy of 500 Test wickets, prompted much scrutiny after the hosts fell to a four-wicket loss, with Broad himself saying he was “angry and frustrated” after being left out.
Holder said he was surprised himself. “Looking back at the game,” the West Indies captain wrote in his column for the Daily Mail, “it was my preference to bowl first so I didn’t mind England deciding to bat and then our bowlers simply bowled their hearts out on a pretty flat pitch. I was a little surprised England didn’t pick Stuart Broad.
“His record, particularly in this country, is outstanding and I thought they would leave out either Jofra Archer or Mark Wood. But they put out a high-quality attack, that’s for sure. It was the first time we have played a Test against Jofra and he was eager to get going against us and we were eager to get going against him!”
West Indies tightened the screws on the fourth day, picking up five wickets in the final session, including key scalps of Zak Crawley (76) and Stokes (46), after the duo added 98 runs for the fourth wicket, putting the hosts in an advantageous position.
Holder’s Test numbers since the start of 2018:
699 runs @ 41.11, HS: 202*
60 wickets @ 14.08, 5 5WIhttps://t.co/SmbzLtVtLS
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 13, 2020
“Then as it went on it became close to the complete West Indian performance,” he wrote. “The fourth day in particular was a touching one for us because we were rewarded for all our efforts since we arrived here over a month ago.
“There’s no doubt the game changer was that fourth afternoon when we took five wickets after tea. Then we were able to finish it off on the last day.”