Ben Stokes insists he does not regret his decision to bat first or leave Stuart Broad out after West Indies beat England by four wickets in the opening Test at the Ageas Bowl.
In overcast and drizzly conditions, Stokes decided to bat after winning the toss on the first morning and England were subsequently bowled out for just 204.
The hosts hoped the pitch would deteriorate and making batting difficult for Windies in the fourth innings but Jason Holder’s side knocked off 200 on the final day to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
‘I stand by that decision,’ England stand-in captain Stokes said at the post-match presentation.
‘We’ve got to be good enough to put first-innings runs on the board. We didn’t do that despite getting ourselves into good positions.
‘We didn’t grasp the game but it’s been a learning curve for some of our young batsmen.’
Stokes also defended the decision to omit Broad – England’s second-leading wicket-taker in history – from their XI.
England opted for a pace attack of James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood in Southampton, with Broad left ‘angry’ and ‘gutted’ at the decision.
‘If I said I regretted that, I don’t think that would send a very good message to the bowlers we did pick,’ he added.
‘We’re in a very fortunate position with a lot of great bowlers to pick from. You can see the passion and desire is still there with Stuart.
‘He’s by nowhere near done.’
West Indies were written off by many before a ball was bowled and captain Jason Holder was delighted to see his side produce an impressive and unexpected win.
‘I’m really happy. The boys have worked hard and it’s good to see it pay off,’ the Windies skipper said.
‘I’m happy that [Shannon] Gabriel came back well and [Jermaine] Blackwood too. They put their hands up and led the charge.
‘I missed the Barmy Army. But it was a level playing field without the crowds. It’s been a good start back to international cricket, it sets the series up quite nicely.’
The second Test of the three-match series starts on Thursday at Old Trafford.
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