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Broad wary as England 'step into the unknown'

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Are West Indies more 'pink ball ready'? (1:55)

Stuart Broad says England need to quickly get used to day-night Test cricket and believes there could be some interesting tactics on show against West Indies (1:55)

The lights are going to be on but will anyone feel at home? Stuart Broad has admitted this week's day-night Investec Test against West Indies - the first of its kind to be played in the UK - will be a "step into the unknown" and warned that England will have to be on their guard against a side with more experience of the pink ball than them.

The Edgbaston Test will provide a number of challenges, from the question of how the pink Dukes balls will perform, to the difficulties of batting as darkness falls, to the issue of whether starting later and the use of floodlights might require different tactics. Even sleep patterns and meal times will have to be adjusted: the Test will feature a 40-minute interval at tea and only a 20-minute break in the evening.

"This week, I promise you, we are stepping into the unknown," Broad said. "I just don't know what to expect.I've tried to speak to a few people - obviously the Australians are a bit different because they have played day-nighters with a different ball [the Kookaburra]. The county lads said it's not shined up very well at all, that it's gone really soft really quickly - it's given different bounce for the spinners but not really turned.

"This is a big series for us and this is the first Test of the series - it's quite nerve racking. You're playing something that is completely unknown to you but you still have to stamp your authority on the series. It think it really opens up the series to start with."

England will go in as clear favourites against a side ranked eighth in the world - and with their own ranking up No. 3 after completing a 3-1 victory against South Africa last week - but Broad pointed to the fact that West Indies have not only played a pink-ball Test before, against Pakistan in Dubai last year, they have also enjoyed an encouraging workout under floodlights, with four individual centuries either side of bowling out Derbyshire for 181 in their latest tour match.

By contrast, the pink-ball matches in the Championship were six weeks ago and, in several cases, rain affected - in Yorkshire's match against Surrey, Joe Root faced 13 balls and Jonny Bairstow did not bat. Broad, meanwhile, missed out after suffering a recurrence of his heel problem and has only ever bowled with a pink ball once, during a demonstration on Sky.

"There is always pressure in Test cricket and we have just come off the back of a good series against South Africa, but with areas where we can still improve a lot," he said. "Following the scores in the West Indies' warm-up match at Derby, it looked like they had a great week with the pink ball. They have probably had more experience than us with the pink ball - they played in Dubai against it recently - so you could almost say they have an advantage over us having played a pink-ball game this week, going into the first Test.Whereas we are having one training session under lights and that is the only time we're getting training under the lights.

"It is going to be really interesting and I think every batsman will be praying they don't come in at that twilight period to face their first ball because you want it to be as normal as possible when you first get to the crease. So, as a team, we'll have to try and make sure we have batsmen 'in' during that period because you could lose three or four wickets in that tricky period and it could cost you the Test match.Whoever is in - whoever is 30 not out, or 70 not out - will be getting a telling off if they get out."

England will hope they learn quickly because day-night Tests are going to be a feature of their winter, with an Ashes fixture at Adelaide and the prospect of one on the New Zealand tour in March - subject to Eden Park gaining approval to use its floodlights.

The Ashes, inevitably, are looming ever closer and England must use the West Indies series to try and improve a brittle recent record - while also attempting to settle the positions of opener, No. 3 and No. 5/No. 8. Victory over South Africa gave England their first series win in a year, and you have to go back to 2013 for when they last won home Tests encounters against both touring sides, but Broad was encouraged by the early signs for the team under Root.

"This England side is a really exciting team to play in and we've got players who can do really special things," he said. "We're aware of the slight inconsistency that's been in our game for a little period of time but when a team becomes aware of something like that, generally you put it right.

"You'd say if this team had any weakness if we have a bad hour it's a really bad hour so if we can turn that five-wicket hour into a two-wicket hour and rebuild we're going to be a really hard team to beat. You look at Australia and I think both teams look similar. Both teams have got experienced players who have been around quite a long time and can perform relatively consistently and both have got players who do unbelievably world-class things one day and, with a bit of inexperience, make mistakes the next. I think this will be up there with the most fascinating Ashes series of recent times and that's exciting.

"This isn't disrespecting this series, because we're talking about West Indies and it is hugely important, but we want to go to Australia with a consistent team because if we get the consistency right we've got the flair to blow any team away. It's pretty exciting time to be involved in this Test team actually."

Although England are beginning to evolve, they still rely heavily on the bowling of Broad and James Anderson. Both are approaching significant milestones - Broad is set to pass Ian Botham as England's second-leading Test wicket-taker, while Anderson is closing in on becoming the third fast bowler to reach 500 - and they will be expected to lead the attack in Australia.

Anderson finished the South Africa series with 20 wickets at 14.10 and Broad said it was "probably the best I've seen him bowl" since his six-for helped see off Australia at Edgbaston during the 2015 Ashes.

"He's bowling brilliantly," Broad said. "It didn't swing a lot in this series, but he's started to look to swing it less and just seam it on a length, which has been very dangerous. I know he's got a huge hunger for cricket, a huge passion for cricket, and I certainly want him to carry on for as long as possible. If that means he has to miss the odd Test here and there to get another year out of him then that can happen.

"You don't get many bowlers playing until 37 or 38 these days at the top level, do you? But he is a bit of a freak in that way, in the fact that he's incredibly fit, and he's bowled that much with his action that he knows it. He's very much a rhythm bowler. It just looks easy. When you're stood at mid-on to him, it just looks like there's a rhythm and an ease to his action. The Ashes this winter means so much to me personally and I don't want to look too much further beyond that, but you know if we start with him at the Gabba we've certainly got a better chance in Australia."

Broad and Anderson have taken more than 700 wickets in Tests together, so it will seem fitting to have them side-by-side at the top of the list for England. But when it comes to the Ashes, it will be Botham's example that Broad attempts to follow. "He's been an inspiration to me in how to take on Australia. I grew up in our era from 86-87 to 2005 when it was horrible watching the Ashes. That was an influence on me because it made me very determined that if ever I got the chance to play against them we'd have to win."