A gutsy knock from Jermaine Blackwood steered West Indies to a historic victory against England in the first Test at The Ageas Bowl, on Sunday.
At a surface where bowlers toiled hard even to trouble the batsman, let alone taking wickets, Jofra Archer ran riot in his opening spell, generating just enough pace and bounce from a dead rubber.
After removing three Windies batsmen in quick succession, it almost looked inevitable that a collapse triggered by Archer would culminate into an assured downfall of Windies batting unit.
Blackwood, coming at the crease when the visitors’ scorecard read 3-27, survived everything thrown at his way to propel his team towards a vital victory.
The Jamaican battled hard to make 95 before falling to Ben Stokes.
However, as much as a great persistence and tenacity mark his innings, the role English fielders played can’t be overlooked.
Blackwood was dropped twice and survived a run out – all three opportunities came in the initial phase of his innings.
At a meagre score of 5, he was dropped by Ben Stokes who was caught wrong-footed. Stokes moved a couple of steps to his right as soon as he noticed Blackwood appearing for a cut shot off Dom Bess’ bowl. However, a thick edge from the batsman saw the ball flying off past the original position of Stokes.
Butler missed an inside edge from Blackwood’s glove when the latter was on 20.
Zack Crawley ruined an easy run-out chance when Blackwood and his partner Roston Chase messed up and found themselves at the same end of the pitch. The batsman was on 29 at this stage.
The opportunity came knocking, but England kept on squandering time after time with a similar level of recklessness.
Later on, even England opening batsman Rory Burns missed an easy opportunity to run-out Blackwood. The match had already slipped out of England’s hands as West Indies needed just 29 runs to secure a victory.
England will surely ruminate on the chances they missed in the game. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to comment; if not for those missed chances, the result could have been swung in their favour.