Jermaine Blackwood became the star of the match and made a 95 helping the West Indies team to beat England by 4 wickets in the England vs West Indies First Test match. West Indies set 200 to win on the last day and made 27-3 after England’s fast bowler Jofra Archer made a double strike.
However, Blackwood drove Ben Stokes to James Anderson at mid-off, aspiring for his second century in Test cricket. The Windies needed just 11 more runs to win. John Campbell who was forced to retire due to his toe which was stuck by Jofra, returned to the middle to hit the winning runs. The captain, Jason Holder who holds the world’s top rank in Test all-rounder category was 14 not out.
The West Indies team has previously won the Wisden Trophy but did not win a Test series in England for 32 years. This victory will put the Indies 1-0 up with two more matches to be played ahead behind closed doors.
The Deserved Triumph
The England vs West Indies First Test match was a tactical triumph for Jason Holder. He took a Test-best 6-42 in England’s first innings of 204 runs after Ben Stokes, the stand-in captain of the English team won the toss and batted.
The team deserved the success as they not only played tactfully but also went ahead with the tour despite the emerging COVID-19 scenario in Britain with more than 44, 000 deaths.
If Blackwood had not received several reprieves, the scenario must have been different for England. Blackwood had just made five when he edged Dom Bess, the off-spinner only for Stokes, moving at slip, to drop the chance.
The 28-year-old Jamaican had moved on to 20 when Jos Buttler, the wicketkeeper, floored a one-handed chance down the legside off Ben Stokes. Though leg-byes were signalled Buttler did not hold out, otherwise, Blackwood would have been out on review.
Soon after, Zak Crawley fumbled and the team lost another possible run-out chance.
The spectacular ending
West Indies needed exactly 100 more for their victory when the magnificent and quick Jofra Archer stepped in and gave a 90mph delivery, defying the docile pitch. Roston Chase on the other side of the pitch was on 37 and diverted the shot to Buttler with his gloves and helmet.
It marked the end of a valuable stand of 73.
Blackwood pressed on, cover-driving Bess and Anderson, for two of his multiple boundaries in the 154-ball innings. Jofra Archer had previously made 23 before he was out in England’s second innings at 313.
Shannon Gabriel, West Indies fast bowler took 5-75 in 21.2 overs, marking his sixth five-wicket achievement in 42 Test matches.
Jofra Archer was selected ahead of Stuart Broad for the Test series yet failed to take any wicket in the first innings. However, he reduced West Indies to 7-2, taking Shamarh Brooks lbw for a duck and Kraigg Brathwaite to play on.
Shai Hope was then bowled out for nine by Mark Wood. Shai had previously helped the England team win three years ago by scoring two centuries. Check out the full scorecard here.
The game was a fair win for the West Indies team. England’s loss of five wickets for mere 30 runs and Holder’s dismissal of Stokes proved to be fatal for the English team.