England lost the first Test of the three-match series against West Indies by four wickets at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Friday. Jermaine Blackwood turned out to be the hero for the visitors with a brilliant knock of 95 runs off 154 deliveries as he helped West Indies chase down the target of 200 runs on the 5th day of the Southampton Test. With West Indies now 1-0 up in the series, England captain Ben Stokes was asked if he regretted the decision to leave out senior pacer Stuart Broad from the playing XI in the first Test. Stokes admitted he has no regrets of not picking Broad in the line-up or not bowling first in overcast conditions after winning the toss. Stokes, who led England in the absence of regular skipper Joe Root, had opted to bat first after winning the toss as his decision seemed to have backfired with the hosts getting bundled out on 204 in their first innings.
“It was a very hard-fought Test match. It’s always great when games can go to day five. The level of cricket played was fantastic. Ideally we would have liked to have got more runs in the first innings,” said Stokes speaking to Test Match Special.
“We got ourselves into great positions at times with the bat to kick on and get 350 or 400, and we weren’t ruthless enough. We didn’t manage to grasp the game as we would have liked,” he added
Stokes maintained he did not regret not picking Broad in the playing XI or his decision to bat first in the game. Broad in an interview had expressed his disappointment and surprise over not being picked in the playing XI despite being one of the most prolific wicket-takers for England in the longest format.
“I stand by the decision we made to bat first. We’ve got to be good enough to put first-innings runs on the board,” said Stokes on his decision to bat first.
“If I was to regret that decision then it doesn’t send a good message to guys who played. I thought Stuart’s interview was absolutely brilliant, to see the emotion and desire he still has burning inside him is great to see as a senior player. And it shows he’s nowhere near done,” he said about Broad’s omission.