Kemar Roach comes from wide on the crease, the ball is pitching outside leg stump, and even seems to gently fade further towards the leg side. Then it lands, and like it's been electrocuted, it jumps in the opposite direction and takes the top of off stump. It was unplayable.
This was the third over, before the eighth was completed the West Indies had two wickets. Considering that in day-night Tests it's harder to take wickets due to the later start being in the best conditions for batting it was an incredible start. It was followed by the largest partnership yet in day-night Tests.
The only other unplayable ball Roach bowled was a wide to second slip. But he was still the best of bowlers, by a long way.
The exciting, but young, Alzarri Joseph started by bowling as many balls in bad areas as you can manage. He was hit for three fours in an over from Alastair Cook. Yes, that Alastair Cook. All day Cook scored at over four runs an over from Joseph, Root hit a boundary pretty much every six balls he faced from him as well. Most of the day he looked like a medium-fast bowler who couldn't quite work out why it all wasn't working.
Then there was Miguel Cummins who started brilliantly when Tom Westley missed one. But against Root, Cummins seemed to believe that he could tire him out by delivering a ball in a different spot every time. It wasn't that Root scored quickly off him, it was that the plan seemed to be so random that there was no way you could keep pressure on Root. Cummins pitch map looked more like teenage acne than a professional Test bowler trying to get out one of the world's best batsmen. Later he would come back and bowl a much better spell, against a Root who was now well and truly set and batting at the best time of the day.
The fourth seamer was Jason Holder, who averages less than two wickets a game. He bowled the most dot balls of anyone, but not nearly enough. If you're going to make it as a fourth seamer medium-paced bowler you at least need to be as frugal as possible. Instead, he was more expensive than Roach and Cummins. Holder was scored off with ease all around the wicket, all the time. He maintained no real pressure, came up with no real wicket-taking deliveries, and seemed injured for most of the day. If he was, it's hard to work out why he was bowling when this team had three other frontline bowlers on offer.
Then there was Roston Chase and his offspin. At times the ball seemed to be coming out of his hand perfectly, but when it got to the other end, it had transformed into something hideous. He bowled short, full, wide and had the control of a club offspinner who'd missed one too many training nights. It can be hard as an offspinner bowling to Root, as his activity rate is so high against them. According to CricViz, Root's dot ball percentage against off-spin is 60%. Since his debut, only Younis Khan (59%) has a lower percentage (min. 1000 balls). Good batting like that can upset you, but Chase never found a length or line, he spent all day missing the mark. Root brought up his hundred off a half tracker that was sinking down the leg side. It was about as bad a ball as you see in Tests.
In all there were 53 fours on the opening, the most on any first day of a Test in England over the last five years, and 16 more than the average. You can't put quality players under pressure when you spend most of the day jogging over to the rope to pick up a ball.
And if the bowling was poor, the captaincy tried to out suck it. After tea, the hardest time to bat in pink ball matches, England's two best batsmen had to face the might of Chase and Holder. When the new ball was due Roach, who was in the middle of an excellent spell, was taken off so that an injured Holder could bowl, and then when he couldn't finish his over, Chase came back on. Did I mention that all this happened with Dawid Malan was new at the crease, trying to save his career? When the new ball was finally taken, it was largely because if they didn't take it Stuart Law was about to storm the field. And the next over Kraigg Brathwaite, and his part time offspin, bowled. The last two overs of the day, with a ball that was six overs old, were also bowled by Brathwaite and Chase.
Roach tried hard, beat the bat, got edges that went nowhere and found reverse to go through Root late in the day. Just after this Roach got another one to reverse, it wasn't unplayable, but it was good enough to get the edge of a set Cook. The edge went past slip though.
For a few seconds, Roach stood mid-pitch, head in his hands, shoulders slumped, looking around for help, for luck, for anything. All he found was disappointment and another boundary.