Edgbaston made history yesterday (August 18th) as the first day-night Test played in England began - and Joe Root and Alastair Cook made the most of the occasion.
In front of a bumper crowd, the pair feasted on some wayward bowling to rescue England from a position of early difficulty at 39-2. Root made 136 and Cook an unbeaten 153 as the home side closed the day on 348-3.
The 50th Edgbaston Test - and the first with a pink ball - began with Root winning the toss and opting to bat. Cook took to the field with Mark Stoneman, his 13th opening partners since the retirement of Andrew Strauss, but after Stoneman struck two early boundaries, he was bowled by a superb Kemar Roach delivery. It was a harsh moment for the debutant on a day when much of the bowling was inaccurate and no less than 53 boundaries were scored.
Tom Westley also made just eight before he was lbw on review, but Root and Cook were to add 248 for the third wicket. Root reached 50 for the 11th Test in succession, a record for an Englishman and just one behind the overall Test record held by A.B. de Villiers. He then went on to reach his 13th Test century. Converting half-centuries into three figures has been one of the very few areas of his batting the England skipper has had to work on, but this was his second century of the summer and may not be the last.
Root was finally bowled aiming a loose drive at a Roach inswinger, but predictions of a tumble of wickets in the twilight against the new ball never materialised. Dawid Malan did offer one very hard catching chance at slip when he had just two, but afterwards, he unfurled a couple of classy strokes and came through to finish unbeaten on 27.
Cook, meanwhile, made his highest Test score since his epic 263 against Pakistan in the UAE in October 2015. His score - the kind of innings dubbed a 'daddy hundred' by his batting mentor Graham Gooch - has set the game up for England and he will look to go on today, mindful that Edgbaston was the scene of his highest Test score in 2011, 294 against India.
Until this match, the opener has had a similar problem to Root in converting his starts, with only five of his previous 32 half centuries being turned into three figures. But against a side lacking the raw pace of Shannon Gabriel - left out after a spate of no-balls in last week's tour match at Derby - or a front-line spinner, he and England have a huge advantage and will look to bat the West Indies out of the game today.
If he needs inspiration to go past 200, Cook could reflect on the lunchtime parade of former England players who had starred in the previous 49 Edgbaston Tests. Among them was David Gower, who made two Test double centuries at the venue.
The procession was a reminder of the grand heritage of the ground, where famous Tests range from Peter May and Colin Cowdrey's match-saving stand of 411 against the West Indies in 1957 to England's heart-stopping two-run win against Australia in 2005. Edgbaston has just made history again, but it has been making it for a long time.
Image: Getty, from Keith Prowse subscription