Gus Atkinson described his first day as a Test

Gus Atkinson The 26-year-old debutant etched himself on to the Lord's honours board with a sensational 7/45 in his first innings as a Test cricketer

Jul 11, 2024 - 20:18
Jul 11, 2024 - 23:20
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Gus Atkinson described his first day as a Test

Gus Atkinson described his first day as a Test cricketer as 'more than I ever dreamed of' as England's fast bowling transition practice got off to an exciting start at Lord's. Playing his first red-ball game at an absent venue, Atkinson needed just 53 balls to get his name on the honors board and finished with astonishing figures of 7 for 45.

"I don't think it's sunk in yet. I was looking at the board at my stats and just thinking, 'Wow.' A very special day," Gus Atkinson reflected after the day's play. "I was a bit nervous this morning. I woke up and could only think about the day ahead. I was a bit emotional this morning and then taking my family there for my cap presentation - if you asked me what I wanted from my day that was great. To be taken for a high five is beyond my wildest dreams.

On a slow pitch on the first day, Gus Atkinson went into the attack after the West Indies were seemingly past the early water mark on 34 not out. Atkinson's second delivery at this level was on the inside edge of opposition captain Craig Brathwaite's leg-stump. He bowled three overs and took two wickets before even giving away his first run.

"I was trying to keep it as even as possible. My dad was saying, 'This is the biggest day of your life.' I wasn't thinking like 'relax relax'. I was a bit nervous to start with but once I bowled the first few overs I was pretty calm," he reflected.

The 26-year-old is steady with power bowling fast cross-seam deliveries. He used the Lord's shield to good effect which got the thick end of the slip cordon to proven left-armers Kirk McKenzie and Alec Athanaz. "My stock ball is that scrambled seam, it felt like today, bowling with the shield, bowling from the pavilion end, that was my most dangerous ball," Gus Atkinson said.

"I was targeting fourth stump and trying to drive it down the hill and with left-handers, I was trying to push it with the odd in-swinger. I felt that was the best way to get my wicket. The seam was probably a bit more scrambled than I would have liked. But it's something I can work on. I think I can bowl faster and hit the pitch harder when I'm bowling the scramble seam and that's worked pretty well for me in the past."

In his second spell, Atkinson demolished the West Indies. He took three wickets in four balls in his ninth over, passing through the West Indies middle order and joining the distinguished company of Tom Hartley, Josh Tongue, Rehan Ahmed and Will Jacks as England players who have taken five wickets in Tests recently. Debut under Ben Stokes. Gus Atkinson burst onto the scene in dramatic fashion with two more wickets in his 11th over.

It is too soon to anoint his performance as a passing of the torch, but the nature of his entry shed some light on the outgoing James Anderson, whose retirement after 22 years and more than 700 Test wickets remains its central narrative. The opening Test of the season

"The focus was on Jimmy so it was nice to go under the radar a bit and focus on performing as well as I could," Gus Atkinson said. “Being there with Jimmy in his final test was incredible, being in the long room, Jimmy leading us on the pitch was a pretty surreal moment.

"I've played a couple of white-ball games here. It was special, I always thought I'd bowl pretty well here with the red ball to have a chance in the first Test of the summer. Great, and thankfully it went well

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