West Indies v England marks big occasion for Anderson and Trott
England come into this Test Series with the West Indies hoping for a fresh start, after their woeful one-day performance in the recent World Cup in Australia, where they could only manage wins against Afghanistan and Scotland.
Peter Moores knows he is under pressure to gain success in the Caribbean, and he will be hoping to rely on star bowler James Anderson, who is set to make his 100th Test appearance.
The Lancastrian is also chasing Ian Botham’s all-time wicket total in this form of the game, and is now just three behind that record. Anderson is 11/4 with Coral to be best England bowler in the first innings.
Ahead of the clash in Antigua, where his side are even-money favourites for victory, he said: “We want to express ourselves and put smiles back on people’s faces.
“The 100th Test is a huge landmark for a player. I’m really looking forward to experiencing it. But the record will take a back seat.
“We have a really important period ahead trying to get some wins and get some form after a disappointing winter, so concentrating on that is the most important thing.”
Also in the bowling department, there could be a Test debut for Adil Rashid, one of six Yorkshire stars called up. The leg-spinning all-rounder is 4/1 to get the best figures.
This Test also marks the return of Jonathan Trott, who is set to play his first England match in 17 months.
The South African-born batsman is also in line to earn his 50th cap, and he is 4/1 to get the highest score for his adopted nation in the first innings.
Trott too spoke ahead of the encounter, adding: “To be brutally honest I didn’t know if I’d be able to come back here. I didn’t know if I was going to be selected but I had to get my head down and push my case forward and that’s all I could do. I’m really glad.
“I’ve been tested on and off the field and had to go through the ringer to get here. So, yes I feel really confident I can cope and do really well.”
Other batsmen to look out for include under-fire captain Alastair Cook and fellow opener Adam Lyth, who is hoping for a debut too after his prolific form last season with Yorkshire. They are 7/2 and 9/2 respectively to be best England batsmen in the first innings.
For hosts West Indies (9/2 to win the opening Test), meanwhile, they will be without injured superstar Chris Gayle for the occasion.
However, they can still rely on experienced duo Shiv Chanderpaul (3/1 to be best Windies batsman in the first innings) and Denesh Ramdin (7/1). Jerome Taylor tops the market for them in the bowling department at 11/4.