Coupled by an all-round remarkable bowling display and a masterful 95 from Jermaine Blackwood, West Indies romped to a sensational four-wicket victory over England in the first of their three Tests series. Despite being at one stage 27 for 3 in their chase of 200 runs for victory and with Campbell retiring hurt following a fiery outburst from Archer, West Indies held their nerve with some resolute batting and partnership to achieve their target winning by four wickets. Blackwood shared two important partnerships, 63 with Roston Chase and 68 with wicket keeper Shane Dowrich.
The fluctuating contest was a wonderful start to international cricket that has been threatened by the Coronavirus, however, the only thing missing on a glorious Sunday afternoon was a crowd. Nevertheless, one cannot take away from the victory as West Indies depicted and impressed with attitude, application and determination, as they quickly adapted to the conditions. Blackwood’s resolute 95 was a stark remembrance of his astute batting when West Indies won their first Test against England in 2017. More of a dasher, he was able to curb his exuberance with caution and maturity as he held the innings together. It was rather unfortunate that he didn’t soldier on the record a century. However, it was more than fitting that Holder, the personification of West Indies’ recent revival, was at the crease when victory was sealed, taking the spoils over his opposite number and fellow all rounder Ben Stokes. It was a great Test match and a great week in the circumstances. The better team won without any question. According to Carlos Brathwaite, it was a polished, professional Test unit rather than a bunch of guys put together to play Test cricket for West Indies. To him Blackwood batted eloquently, classy, calmly, and carefree adjectives you don’t normally subscribe to him. In his first Test following surgery in September of 2019, Shannon Gabriel finished with match figures of 9 for 137.
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