James Anderson was given an early shot at grabbing the three Test wickets he needed to become the first England bowler to take 500, after West Indies captain Jason Holder won the toss and batted in the series-decider at Lord’s.
Should Anderson reach the landmark, the 35-year-old seamer will become just the sixth bowler in history and only the third paceman to take 500 Test wickets.
Anderson, however, went wicketless in the second innings of West Indies’ shock five-wicket win in the second Test at Headingley that saw the tourists level the three-match series at 1-1.
Holder’s decision 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 green-tinged pitch played.
“It seems to be a pretty good wicket,” said Holder after announcing an unchanged side at the toss.
“We expect something to happen in the first hour but will be confident to get past that.”
The all-rounder added: “We did well in the last Test, but that’s gone.
“There’s no better place to come here (Lord’s) and do it. Hopefully we can put on a good show.”
England captain Joe Root had already announced the one change to the team that played at his Yorkshire home ground.
All-rounder Chris Woakes was dropped after just one game back with seamer Toby Roland-Jones, the man he replaced, returning on a ground where he has spent much of his career playing for Middlesex.
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.
“Potentially we did bring Chris back a game too soon at Headingley,” said Root.
“Looking at this wicket, there was no temptation to play (leg-spinner) Mason Crane.
“Hopefully the seamers will play a big part.”
West Indies’ 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.Teams
England: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Joe Root (capt), Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Moeen Ali, Toby Roland-Jones, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wkt), Jason Holder (capt), Kemar Roach, Devendra Bishoo, Shannon Gabriel