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Atkinson's magnificent seven against West Indies upstages Anderson exit

Key wicket: England's Gus Atkinson (R) celebrates after dismissing West Indies' Jason Holder for a duck in the first Test at Lord's (Paul ELLIS)
Key wicket: England's Gus Atkinson (R) celebrates after dismissing West Indies' Jason Holder for a duck in the first Test at Lord's (Paul ELLIS)

Gus Atkinson stole the spotlight from England great James Anderson's farewell by taking a sensational seven wickets on his Test debut as the West Indies collapsed to 121 all out on Wednesday's opening day at Lord's.

England then consolidated their advantage to be 189-3 at stumps, a lead of 68 runs, with Zak Crawley (76) and Ollie Pope (57) both making fluent fifties.

The build-up to the first of this three-match series had centred on the retiring Anderson's last international appearance, following a record-breaking Test career that has now yielded 701 wickets -- the most by any fast bowler at this level.

But it was 26-year-old quick Atkinson who took centre stage instead with a remarkable haul of 7-45 in 12 overs -- including a triple wicket-maiden.

Atkinson's final figures, after he accounted for Alzarri Joseph and Shamar Joseph, were the second best by an England bowler on a Test debut behind Dominic Cork's 7-43 against the West Indies at Lord's in 1995.

Anderson, by contrast, did not add to his tally of Test wickets until he had last man Jayden Seales lbw to end the West Indies innings.

An elated Atkinson told Sky Sports after close of play: "It's a pretty great day for us to bowl them out for 121 then have a lead of 68 after day one is great.

"There were a few nerves this morning. Being in the Long Room (of the Pavilion) was pretty special and the applause for Jimmy (Anderson) was pretty special. There was a bit of nerves, but ball in hand all good."

West Indies debutant Mikyle Louis, the first Test cricketer from St Kitts, top-scored with 27 in an innings where only three batsmen made it into the 20s.

Having played just one warm-up match and with inexperienced top-order batsmen Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze and Kavem Hodge holding only nine caps between them before this Test, the West Indies unsurprisingly struggled after losing the toss in overcast conditions.

They were 88-3 when Atkinson, who had already taken two wickets before lunch, came on to bowl the 35th over.

With his second ball of the over he had Athanaze caught by Joe Root in the slips for 23.

Atkinson, maintaining a challenging line and length, then produced a superb delivery next ball that former West Indies captain Holder, back after nearly a year out of Test cricket, edged to Harry Brook in the cordon.

Joshua Da Silva survived the hat-trick but the following ball he too fell for a duck, an inside edge caught by opposing wicketkeeper Jamie Smith, who along with Surrey team-mate Atkinson was also making his Test debut.

Atkinson had now taken three wickets for no runs in four balls, thereby securing his place on the Lord's honours board for a five-wicket haul in a Test.

Earlier, Anderson was straight into the action when England captain Ben Stokes opted to field after winning the toss -- a decision greeted by huge cheers from the crowd at the 'Home of Cricket'.

But despite a probing new-ball spell of five overs for 11 runs, the 41-year-old Anderson was unable to dislodge either West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite or fellow opener Louis.

West Indies were looking to Brathwaite, appearing in his 90th Test, to make a significant score.

But he was out for two, chopping onto his stumps, as Atkinson struck with only his second ball Wednesday.

"It was a dream start," said Atkinson. "Not the ball I was trying to bowl, but I can't complain! I felt comfortable straight away in the environment."

Louis's promising 58-ball innings ended when the 23-year-old fell to a brilliant low catch by the diving Harry Brook at third slip off Stokes.

West Indies' plight was summed up when Hodge fell for 24 after a fierce square cut off Chris Woakes was well caught by Pope at point, the batsman sinking to his knees in disbelief.

Crawley looked on course for a hundred before Seales bowled him with a rapid leg-stump yorker as an 89-ball innings, including 14 fours, came to a spectacular end.

jdg/nr