West Indies provided a double boost to all those looking forward to a return to something approaching normality as their preparations for the Test series against England moved up a level.
As well as offering a glimpse of the first organised cricket of the English season – you would have struggled to find many guessing the first game of the summer would feature two West Indies XIs – there was also good news off the pitch. ESPNcricinfo understands that every member of the touring squad tested negative for the Covid-19 virus – the second such test of the tour – increasing confidence that the series will start, as planned, on July 8.
While this three-day match will not be recorded as a first-class encounter – the tourists named all 25 players across the two sides and wore coloured training kits, shorts and hoodies rather than whites – the fact that it represented the first professional cricket since the Pakistan Super League was suspended in mid-March rendered it a notable occasion.
West Indies will be quietly satisfied with it, too. There were runs for key batsmen, Kraigg Brathwaite (who made 84 off 162 balls) and Shai Hope (83 off 127), while three of the fast bowlers looked in decent shape.
Alzarri Joseph, who wrapped up the tail, was the top wicket-taker with 4 for 60, but Shannon Gabriel, who remains officially a reserve for the tour but looks all but certain to be added to the main squad, was equally impressive in claiming 3 for 32. Kemar Roach also started to find his rhythm after a slow start and claimed the wicket of Brathwaite as the batting side lost their last five wickets for the addition of just two runs.