On the final day of the first international test since the Covid-19 pandemic, West Indies beat England by 4 wickets on Sunday, taking a 1-0 lead in a three-test series at the Ageas Bowl, thanks to a 95-run knock by Jermaine Blackwood.
England made early inroads into the West Indies’s batting lineup on day five because the visitors targeted 200 to win the match, reducing them to 27-3 before Blackwood started to set the foundations for a huge win for the Caribbean side, although the match played behind closed doors.
Following Jofra Archer’s toe-crushing yorker, the opener John Campbell retired due to the injury, and Blackwood joined the match before lunch and started to anchor the innings, sharing a 73 runs stand with Roston Chase (37).
As mentioned by Jason Holder, Windies captain to BBC, “It was a nerve-wracking start after losing quick three wickets and Campbell to injury. But Roston and Jermaine put on a good partnership and calmed the nerves. From there we could build on.”
The captain expressed his thoughts during the interview, “I missed the Barmy Army but it was a level playing field without the crowds. It’s been a good start back to international cricket, it sets the series up pretty nicely.”
The Barbados-born Archer, who finished 3-45, frustrated the batsmen with his speed and bounce throughout the match, but the danger man Blackwood could not be dismissed by England.
At the end, the 28-year-old Jamaican narrowly missed out on his 2nd test century, when he attempted to lift a Ben Stokes delivery over the infield, only to give a catch to James Anderson.
Then, Campbell returned to the crease with West Indies 6 wickets down to join Holder, who played a steady knock of 14 out of 36 balls, to lead the Windies home in the final session.
Earlier, after resuming on 284-8, England side was bowled out for 313 in their 2nd innings, with the overnight pair’s Archer and Mark Wood struggling to show much resistance.
Shannon Gabriel ended with 5-75 figures (his 6th 5-wicket haul in Tests), while Chase and Alzarri Joseph picked up 2 wickets respectively.
Stokes, captain of England stood by his decision to bat first, “Ideally we would have liked to have got more runs in the first innings.”
The England’s captain commented on the defeat, “We got ourselves into great positions at times with the bat to kick on and get 350 or 400, and we weren’t ruthless enough. We didn’t manage to grasp the game as we hoped.”
The second and third Test matches will take place in Manchester, also played behind closed doors.