West Indies unchanged after drawn first Test
England won the toss and chose to bat first against West Indies
Fisher’s call-up was confirmed when he and Mahmood were handed their caps during England’s pre-match huddle, meaning that England will be fielding two Test debutants for the first time since James Bracey and Ollie Robinson made their first appearances against New Zealand at Lord’s last summer.
Their direct involvements in the contest will have to wait, however, after Joe Root won the toss and chose to bat first. “It looks a good wicket and we’ll have to make good use of it,” Root said.
“We’re very excited for both of them, they are both very impressive young players, and obviously both very excited,” Root added. “Overnight Craig wasn’t feeling too well and unfortunately wouldn’t be able to get through the game, so it’s a great opportunity for Fish to come in and show everyone what a good player he is.”
Robinson, who missed the first Test with a back spasm, was not risked for this contest despite appearing to pull up well in the nets, with the England management taking a cautious approach after he suffered a similar problem in the Hobart Test against Australia in January.
Mahmood’s debut was confirmed on Tuesday evening, after Mark Wood – England’s fastest bowler – missed the second half of the Antigua Test with “acute pain” in a right elbow injury. Fisher is expected to take the new ball alongside Chris Woakes, with Ben Stokes and Jack Leach completing England’s five-man attack.
Fisher, the most impressive bowler on England Lions’ tour to Australia, was a surprise call-up for the Caribbean tour and played a low-key role in England’s solitary warm-up in Antigua earlier this month. Although long earmarked as an international prospect, he has struggled with injuries in his brief career, but found some Championship form last summer with 20 wickets at 19.65 in five appearances. All told he has taken 63 wickets at 27.52 in his first-class career.
West Indies 1 Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), 2 John Campbell, 3 Nkrumah Bonner, 4 Kyle Mayers, 5 Jermaine Blackwood, 6 Jason Holder, 7 Joshua da Silva (wk), 8 Alzarri Joseph, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Veerasammy Permaul, 11 Jayden Seales
England 1 Alex Lees, 2 Zak Crawley, 3 Joe Root (capt), 4 Dan Lawrence, 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Ben Foakes (wk), 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Jack Leach, 10 Matthew Fisher, 11 Saqib Mahmood
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket