Ian Bell and Joe Root helped England avoid early embarrassment on the opening day of the first Test against West Indies.

The tourists recovered from a dismal opening that saw them lose Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Gary Ballance in swift fashion as the hosts enjoyed a blistering start in Antigua, reducing their opponents to 34-3.

But the partnership of Bell (143) and Root (83) in addition to an exquisite innings from Ben Stokes (71 not out) saw them recover in style and close the day 341-5.

Trott's return to Test cricket after a 17-month absence lasted for just five balls when Jerome Taylor's delivery forced the batsman to push the ball tamely into the waiting hands of Darren Bravo.

Cook (11) and Balance (10) didn't fare much better as England went into lunch 49-3. Cook was bowled by Kemar Roach, getting an inside edge on the delivery.

But the partnership of Bell (143) and Root (83) steadied the ship for the tourists, reaching tea with an unbeaten 167-3 as they picked off loose balls with ease.

Root was soon dismissed by fast bowler Jerome Taylor but Stokes added further gloss on a day that steadily improved as it wore on. The 23-year-old all-rounder completed a triumphant return to the international stage, hitting 71 from his first 74 balls of the day.

Bell's sublime innings were brought to an end off Roach's excellent delivery in the penultimate over, but Stokes hung on to finish the day not out.