The West Indies squad has some fresh faces and is without its star opener Chris Gayle, who has expressed inability to play the longer format due to a recurring back niggle, while England is on a road to recovery after a first-round exit at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
England, who was beaten 1-0 when the two sides squared off in the Caribbean last time in 2009, will be buoyed by the return of Jonathan Trott, who is set to open with Alastair Cook, the captain.
But things aren't quite as straightforward for England, even if it is up against a young opposition. Cook, who hasn’t scored a Test century in 18 months, will be eyeing a return to form as England embarks on a hectic campaign of 17 Tests over the next nine months.
The team’s Test specialists might be rusty, as England’s last Test was well over eight months ago when it beat India 3-1 at home, before preparations began in earnest for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Those in the World Cup squad will also be looking to put the disappointment of their campaign behind them. The series opener will mark a milestone in James Anderson's career. England's pace spearhead is set to play in his 100th Test and the icing on the cake could be the four wickets he needs to surpass Ian Botham’s tally of 383 wickets, the most by an England cricketer in Tests.
England will also welcome the return of Ottis Gibson as fast bowling coach, while the hosts also have a change at the top with Phil Simmons, the former West Indies batsman, taking over from Stuart Williams. Simmons enjoyed unprecedented success during his eight-year tenure as head coach of Ireland.
Onto team specifics: Devendra Bishoo, who last played a Test three years ago, returns to the West Indies squad. Given Denesh Ramdin, the captain, has harped on the need to attack England with spin, Bishoo could shoulder the attack with Sulieman Benn, the left-arm spinner. That would leave Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor as the new ball options. Uncapped Shai Hope, a wicketkeeper-batsman, and Carlos Brathwaite, a fast-bowling all-rounder, have also been named in the 14-man squad.
On Test form, England starts off as the favourite, but the West Indies has the home advantage and will look to maximise that to challenge Cook’s men.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, Devon Smith, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Jermaine Blackwood, Denesh Ramdin (capt, wk), Jerome Taylor, Kemar Roach, Sulieman Benn, Devendra Bishoo.
England: Alastair Cook (capt), Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Gary Ballance, Joe Root, Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad, Chris Jordan, James Tredwell, James Anderson.