Richard Kettleborough (England), Michael Gough (England, TV), Richard Illingworth (England)
Toss has always played a crucial role in Southampton. The Rose Bowl tracks are traditionally known to be conducive towards spin-bowling. The last Test match played here was back in 2018 against India in which Moeen Ali entangled the Indian batsmen with the ball in hand and dragged the hosts to a memorable victory. Spinners, in general, are known to attain success while bowling on these decks. However, as is the case with most England pitches, the pacers are in with the chance whenever the weather gets a little overcast. The surface might just have that extra zip early on in the innings too.
The weather in Southampton is expected to remain cloudy during the course of the match with no rain on the radar. Mild temperatures in the range of 12 degrees Celsius to 18 degrees Celsius are predicted, making for just about perfect Test cricket conditions.
In England, winning the first match of the Test series has a huge advantage and both the teams will be looking to cash-in on it. The absence of Joe Root might hurt the English side who had to go tend to his pregnant wife. However, under Ben Stokes's captaincy, England will be looking to play the fearless brand of cricket akin to Stoke's playing style. West Indies on their day can take apart the best lineups in modern cricket. With an exciting pool of young talent in the likes of Alzarri Joseph and Shai Hope, the Caribbean side will be looking to challenge the strong England side and garner the important points in the World Test Championship.
Last 5 Head To Head
The return of the international cricket and what better than a Test match series to start off the proceedings. The hosts England will be looking to capitalize on the home advantage whereas the resurgent West Indies team will be looking to challenge the Poms in their own backyard. The last series between the two perennial foes was won by the Windies and therefore the English side will eyeing some redemption in this series.