Jermaine Blackwood, the West Indies middle-order batsman, played a superb 95-run knock as the tourists beat England by four wickets in the first Test of the three-match series at Southampton on Sunday.
Chasing 200 to win on the last day, West Indies were reeling at 27-3 after England speedster Jofra Archer’s early double strike. Blackwood, however, held firm until, in sight of his second Test century, he drove England stand-in captain Ben Stokes to James Anderson at mid-off, with Jason Holder & Co. needing just 11 runs for victory. But John Campbell, forced to retire hurt on one after being struck on the toe by Archer, returned to hit the winning runs.
Holder, the world’s top-ranked Test all-rounder, remained unbeaten on 14 at the other end.
Although West Indies hold the Wisden Trophy, they haven’t won a Test series in England for 32 years. But this victory has put them 1-0 up with two more to go in a behind closed doors series ahead of the second Test at Old Trafford in Manchester, starting from July 16.
After guiding the Windies to a sensational win on the resumption of international cricket, Blackwood took to Twitter to expresses his delight. “Big team WIN today @windiescricket. We worked really hard for this! Job not done yet but great start. #WINdies,” he wrote.
— Jermaine Blackwood (@JBlackwood100) July 12, 2020
Well, it might have been a different story for England on Sunday had they not given Blackwood several reprieves.
The 28-year-old was batting on just five when he edged off-spinner Dom Bess only for Stokes, moving at slip, to drop the chance. And Blackwood moved on to 20 when wicketkeeper Jos Buttler floored a one-handed chance down the legside off Stokes. Leg-byes were signalled, but the Jamaican would have been out on review had Buttler grabbed the catch.