Sunderland-born Matthew Potts says England’s entertainers would continue to 'throw punches' after 17 wickets fell on the opening day
England have promised to wow the fans with an aggressive brand of cricket and were on course for a dominant start to the international summer when they dismissed the tourists for a meagre 132 at Lord’s.
Sunderland-born Potts was at the forefront of that effort, taking standout figures of four for 13 to outshine the great James Anderson and Stuart Broad, but ball continued to dominate bat to drag them back into a dog fight at stumps.
From the relative serenity of a 59-run opening stand, England fell in a heap in the evening session to finish on 116 for seven and throw a spanner in Ben Stokes’ first day as new Test captain.
The highs and lows of the day proved a dizzying introduction to the Test arena for 23-year-old Potts, but he was happy with the way England went about their business.
“Yes, it was a rollercoaster. We’ve kind of had an eventful day, but we’ve come to entertain, that’s our first and foremost thing,” he said.
“It’s been an entertaining day of cricket and it’s one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. We’re still in a contest to win a game of Test cricket here so we’re going to attack the next day.
“I think we’re going to throw our punches. Personally I think it’s very, very entertaining and I think it’s what we all want to see. We want to exchange blows, and if they throw us two we’ll throw them four.”
England supporters would probably have been even happier had the final session been lighter on thrills and spills and higher on care and attention, but Potts’ bullish outlook was understandable.
He had, after all, just outshone returning great Anderson and Broad and unpicked the reigning World Test Champions, including captain Kane Williamson, at the sport’s most famous arena.
“I’ve been chomping at the bit ready to go, I’ve been waiting to pull the top on and do the best job I can,” he said.
“It was nice to get into it early and the wicket of Williamson really settled the nerves. I will wear that cap with pride every time I put it on. It’s a proud moment for me and the family, a special day.”
At one stage Durham’s Potts appeared set to put his name on the famous honours board, with number 11 Trent Boult at the crease as he hunted a fifth wicket.
Instead he left the field with cramp, a decision he is certain was best for the team.
“The calves were barking at me a little bit,” he admitted.
“I was probably throwing 110, 115 per cent into it without realising… a bit of nerves probably takes its toll on the body. It was a case of making sure you don’t pull anything or do anything stupid.
“Stokesy kind of took the decision off me and said ‘get off the pitch, rest and we’ll get the last wicket’. It’s always thinking about the greater good over personal achievement.”
Potts thought he would be the only England debutant this week but was joined by Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, who received an unexpected SOS when Jack Leach suffered a freak concussion in the field.
Parkinson drove down from Manchester after answering the call and has a job to do with the bat before he gets a chance to get his hands on the ball.
“I am sure he had an interesting drive down, there will have been a wave of emotions,” he said.
“But he can collect his thoughts tonight and approach the game with a clear head now. Leachy is a tough character. It was a freak thing that can happen in cricket.”