More than I could have dreamed of: Gus Atkinson
By SMCS - Jul 11, 2024 9:30 am
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Gus Atkinson called his first day as a Test cricketer ‘more than I could have dreamed of’ as England’s transition in pace bowling saw an exciting start at Lord’s. Playing his first red-ball game at the fabled venue, Gus Atkinson needed just 53 balls to etch his name on the history board and finished with astonishing figures of 7 for 45 as well.

West Indies
West Indies

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I was looking up at the board seeing my figures and just thinking, ‘Wow.’ A very special day,” Atkinson said after the day’s play. “I was a bit nervous this morning. I woke up and all I could think about was the day ahead. I was a bit emotional this morning and then having my family there for my cap presentation – if you could have asked me what I wanted from my day that was pretty close to the top. It was pretty cool. Just to take a five-for is amazing, more than I could have dreamed of.”

However, on a slowish Day 1 pitch, Gus Atkinson was brought into the attack after West Indies had started well with 34 for no loss. Atkinson’s second delivery at this level was inside-edged onto the leg stump by opposition captain Kraigg Brathwaite as well. He had bowled three overs and took two wickets before he even conceded his first run as well.

“I was trying to keep as level as possible. My dad was saying, ‘It’s the biggest day of your life.’ I was like ‘Relax! Relax – try not to think like that.’ I was a bit nervous to start with but once the first few overs were bowled I was pretty calm. My stock ball is that scrambled seam, it felt like today, bowling with the slope, bowling from the Pavilion End, that was my most dangerous ball,” Atkinson again said.

England team
England team

“I was targeting fourth stump and trying to run it down the hill and with the left-handers, I was trying to push it across them with the odd in-swinger. I felt like that was the best way I could get the wickets. The seam was probably a bit more scrambled than I’d like but that is something I can work on. I feel like I can bowl quicker and hit the pitch harder when I bowl scrambled seam and it’s worked prety well for me in the past,” he further added.

However, it was with his second spell that Gus Atkinson had West Indies dismantling. He took three wickets in four balls in his ninth over, ripping through West Indies’ middle order and joining the company of Tom Hartley, Josh Tongue, Rehan Ahmed, and Will Jacks as England players who have recently taken a five-for on Test debut under Ben Stokes as well. Atkinson then claimed two more wickets in his 11th over to cap off a dramatic arrival on the scene as well.

“The focus was on Jimmy so it was nice to go under the radar a bit and just focus on performing as best as I could,” Atkinson said. “To be out there alongside Jimmy in his final test was incredible, being in the Long Room, Jimmy leading us on the pitch was a pretty surreal moment. I’ve played a few white ball games here. It was special, I’ve always felt like I would bowl quite well here with the red ball so to be able to come out and get the opportunity in the first Test of the summer is great, and thankfully it went well.”