(Sport 24) – West Indies captain Jason Holder won the toss and elected to bat against England in the third and deciding Test at Lord’s on Thursday.
Holder’s decision gave James Anderson an early chance to grab the three wickets he needs to become the first England bowler, and only the sixth in history, to take 500 Test wickets.
It also meant the West Indies would bat first on a surface showing unusual ‘fairy ring’ markings, the result of what officials said was a fungal infection that is not expected to affect how the pitch played.
England captain Joe Root had already announced the one change to a side that suffered a surprise five-wicket defeat in the second Test on his Headingley home ground as the West Indies levelled the three-match series at 1-1.
All-rounder Chris Woakes was dropped after just one game back with paceman Toby Roland-Jones, the man he replaced returning on his Middlesex home ground.
The 29-year-old, who made his debut in the recent home series win over South Africa, was omitted in Leeds despite taking 14 wickets at under 20 apiece in his first three Tests.
West Indies were unchanged, with leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo retaining his place in the XI.
Their victory in the second Test was all the more remarkable given they suffered an innings and 209-run thrashing in the series opener at Edgbaston as the inaugural day/night Test in England ended inside three days.
But led by Shai Hope, who followed his maiden Test hundred in the first innings, with an unbeaten 118 second time around, they chased down a target of 322 after Root declared.
West Indies have not won a Test series in England since 1988 and last won multiple Tests in the same series away from home against a team other than Bangladesh when twice victorious in Australia 21 years ago.
Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Joe Root (captain), Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Moeen Ali, Toby Roland-Jones, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wkt), Jason Holder (captain), Kemar Roach, Devendra Bishoo, Shannon Gabriel
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney (NZL), Marais Erasmus (RSA)
TV umpire: S Ravi (IND)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)