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July 13, 2020

Brilliant Blackwood guides Windies to historic Test triumph


July 13, 2020

SOUTHAMPTON: Jermaine Blackwood played a memorable knock of 95 to guide West Indies to a famous victory in the first Test against England here on Sunday.

In a Test that marked the return of international cricket from lockdown, the gutsy Blackwood hit 12 fours in his 154-ball 95 to guide the tourists to a thrilling four-wicket triumph.

Blackwood was unlucky to miss out on his century as he fell to Ben Stokes with West Indies needing just 11 to win. But skipper Jason Holder and John Campbell kept their nerves to take West Indies to victory target of 200. Jofra Archer finished with 3-45 while Stokes too 2-39.

Earlier, West Indies were 143-4 at tea on the last day, needing just 57 more runs to reach a victory target of 200 in a match that marks international cricket’s return from lockdown.

Blackwood, given several reprieves, was 65 not out, with Shane Dowrich unbeaten on 15. Archer had taken two wickets before lunch as West Indies slumped to 27-3.

But Roston Chase (37) and Blackwood frustrated England before Barbados-born quick Archer broke a fourth-wicket stand of 73.

Blackwood, however, had made just five when he edged off-spinner Dom Bess only for England stand-in captain Ben Stokes to move too quickly in anticipation at slip and drop the chance.

And he was given another life on 20 when wicketkeeper Jos Buttler floored a left-handed chance down the legside off Stokes. Leg-byes were signalled but Blackwood would have been out on review had Buttler held on.

England then squandered a possible run-out chance when Zak Crawley fumbled in the first of three-match behind closed doors series.

Blackwood had moved on to 29 when he forced paceman Stokes past Rory Burns in the gully, although this time a review would have revealed a no-ball.

But with West Indies needing exactly 100 more for victory, Archer defied a docile pitch to produce a rearing 90 mph delivery that Chase, on 37, could only divert to Buttler via his glove and helmet.

It was a much-needed breakthrough for England, with Archer and fellow fast bowler Mark Wood having just a combined one for 135 between them in the West Indies’ first innings after they were both selected ahead of dropped veteran Stuart Broad.

But Blackwood completed an impressive 80-ball fifty before lofting James Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, for four over mid-off.

Archer had earlier hit a useful 23 before he was last man out in England’s second innings 313 after they had lost five wickets for just 30 runs late on Saturday.

West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel took 5-75 in 21.2 overs — his sixth five-wicket haul in his 46 Tests.

Archer then forced John Campbell to retire hurt on one after his first ball of the innings struck the opener a painful blow on the toe before taking two wickets in quick succession.

He had Kraigg Brathwaite, who top-scored with 65 in West Indies’ first innings 318, playing on for four.

And West Indies’ 7-1 became 7-2 when Shamarh Brooks was plumb lbw for a duck to Archer.

Shai Hope, whose lone two Test hundreds came in a win over England at Headingley three years ago, was then bowled for nine by Wood’s fourth ball of the day.

But England could yet rue being dismissed for just 204 in their first innings after Stokes, leading the side in the absence of Joe Root, won the toss and batted.

Score Board

England won toss

England 1st Innings 204 all out (B Stokes 43; Holder 6-42)

West Indies 1st Innings 318 all out (K Brathwaite 65; B Stokes 4-49)

England 2nd Innings 313 all out (J Crawley 76, S Gabriel 5-75)

West Indies 2nd Innings

KC Brathwaite b Archer 4

JD Campbell not out 8

SD Hope b Wood 9

SSJ Brooks lbw b Archer 0

RL Chase c Buttler b Archer 37

J Blackwood c Anderson b Stokes 95

SO Dowrich c Buttler b Stokes 20

*JO Holder not out 14

Extras (lb 7, nb 1, w 5) 13

Total (6 wickets, 64.2 overs) 200

Did not bat: AS Joseph, KAJ Roach, ST Gabriel

Fall: 1-7, 2-7, 3-27, 4-100, 5-168, 6-189

Bowling: Anderson 15-3-42-0, Archer 17-3-45-3, Wood 12-0-36-1, Bess 10-2-31-0, Stokes 10.2-1-39-2

Result: West Indies won by 4 wickets

Umpires: Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth. TV Umpire: Michael Gough