England captain Joe Root heaped praise on his side for thriving in the unknown surroundings of the maiden day-night Test on these shores as they dominated West Indies at Edgbaston.
Root’s predecessor Alastair Cook batted from start to finish, navigating the potentially treacherous and much-vaunted twilight period to end day one unbeaten on 153 as England reached 348-3 at the close.
Cook, who surpassed mentor Graham Gooch to become the highest Test run-scorer in England, was not the only centurion as Root amassed 136, while Dawid Malan finished proceedings 28 not out after starting his innings in the potentially tricky final session.
With the exception of Kemar Roach, the West Indies bowling department failed to overly trouble England’s run-hungry stalwarts with the pink ball, and Root expects his charges to capitalise further today.
“It was very strange [preparing for a Test with a 2pm start],” said Root.
“After the start it almost felt like a one-dayer because we got off to a bit of a flier, so it was a case of calming yourself down while waiting to bat, knowing you’ve got to be out there for the full day and beyond.
“The crowd and the atmosphere in the ground throughout was electric and for Cooky to be 150 not out is great for us going into tomorrow. It’s been a very good day.
“We spoke before the toss and said if we got into a position of strength we wanted to drive that forward and be really ruthless. It’s something we did well in the previous two games [against South Africa] and to take that forward is brilliant. But it will mean nothing if we don’t back it up tomorrow.”
Root set a new England record after amassing a score of at least 50 in an 11th successive Test. Failing to convert a higher percentage of those to tons has been a source of irritation for the Yorkshireman. A hundred on thursday proved timely.
“Not kicking on enough has been quite frustrating for the past two or three years as you want to lead from the front and set the example. I’m really pleased with the way today went,” added Root.
The day was not all positive for England as debutant Mark Stoneman, Cook’s 12th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012, could only manage eight, albeit his dismissal owed more to a stunning Roach delivery than any technical flaw. Eight was all Tom Westley could manage too as he was trapped lbw by seamer Miguel Cummins.
That left Cook and Root to share a stand of 248 – the highest third-wicket partnership at Edgbaston by any country. Root’s century was his 13th in Test matches and Cook’s his 31st and first since relinquishing the England captaincy in February.