By Hugh Lawson

Quietly confident Atkinson says debut was ‘more than I could have dreamt for’

LONDON, – Gus Atkinson said he was still digesting his own stunning test debut for England on Wednesday, after he took seven West Indies wickets for 45 runs – one of the best starts by an Englishman in the longest form of the game.

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet to be honest, looking up at the board and seeing my figures and just thinking ‘Wow’. It’s a very special day,” he told reporters.

” more than I could have dreamt for.”

Atkinson felt he had benefited by not being in the limelight, with the public most keen to see the final appearance of James Anderson, playing his 188th and last test at the same ground where his career in the format began in May 2003.

“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,” he 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,” he said, referring to a hall at Lord’s cricket ground.

He admitted to some nerves at the start of the day.

“I was a bit nervous this morning – woke up and all you could think about was the day ahead,” he said.

“I tried to keep as level as possible. My dad was saying ‘It’s the biggest day of your life’ and I was like ‘Relax! Relax – try not to think like that’,” he added with a laugh.

“Once the first few overs were bowled, I was pretty calm.”

He also said he had been quietly confident in his own ability, having previously played some shorter matches at Lord’s that had helped him get used to the ground.

“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.”

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