Dominic Cork, with a memorable bowling performance on his return to Test cricket after a twenty-month absence and a very commendable effort from Darren Gough, restricted West Indies to a moderate score after the tourists seemed well on the way to posting an imposing total.
Claiming four for 39 from twenty six overs, which included an inspired spell of three for 16 from eleven overs after tea, Cork was chiefly responsible for crippling the West Indian batting. Gough had not been particularly effective in his earlier spell but he, too, came back strongly after tea, striking two vitally important blows with the dismissal of Brian Lara and Jimmy Adams.
While Gough will be pleased with his spell late in the day and Cork will have good reason to celebrate his return to the big stage, the rest of England's bowling was disappointing and, on 162 for one (a run out), West Indies could hardly have wished for a better start.
To get back in the series after their crushing defeat in the first Test, England, ideally, needed to put West Indies under pressure from the start. But having called correctly at the toss, which was a good one to win in the conditions - it was overcast and there was some early life in the pitch - England failed to take advantage. To make it worse for themselves they even failed to accept chances that were offered by both opening batsmen early in their innings.
With an attack that lacked variety, England bowlers made little impression during the first half of the day. As off-spinner, Robert Croft was omitted from the final eleven, it left England with just seam bowling at their disposal. Of these bowlers, only Gough and Andy Caddick have had creditable performances this season. With Matthew Hoggard making his debut, Cork returning to the Test scene after a long gap and Craig White after an even longer absence, the selectors were taking a bit of a chance.
If their argument was on the basis that the West Indians' seam attack has been so effective, then they would do well to remember that the tourists' bowling has in its ranks two of the great exponents of the art. Courtney Walsh, at 37 and Curtly Ambrose at 36 still remain a very formidable pair. One need not look any further back than the last Test, at Edgbaston, for proof of their present standing.
White was unimpressive in his eight overs, one of which provided Wavell Hinds with three stylish cover drives. Hoggard's bowling was promising in his early spell but later fell apart and Franklyn Rose helped himself to a 6,4,2 and 4 in one over.
Some injudicious stroke-play and the late spells of Cork and Gough saw the tourists lose eight for 96 to end the day on 267 for nine. If England can bat well, they have a chance to put themselves in a strong position in this match.