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Blackwood delivered WI victory

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Dear Editor,

West Indies arrived in England in June for a three-match Test series. There was much talk as to whether the team should have gone to England for this series given the current landscape surrounding the novel coronavirus. Nonetheless, West Indies went ahead, entered the bubble, and began the preparations.

England, without their regular captain, Joe Root, were heavy favourites heading into the first Test; however, the West Indies were there to compete; after all, they are the current holders of the Wisden Trophy.

This series marked the return of cricket since coronavirus virtually locked down the sporting industry, so it was understandable if both teams were a bit rusty.

With much anticipation, day one began, but, as can be expected in England, the heavens opened up and down came the rain, and a truncated day of cricket, with no team gaining an advantage. However, not many would have predicted what happened in the following days.

Led by career-best figures from Captain Jason Holder West Indies skittled out their opponents for a measly 204, and then proceeded to take a 114-run lead to be in firm control.

The English weren't going away that easily, playing at home. Despite the spectatorless stadium, they erased the deficit without much fuss and began to set the game for an outright win. But Shannon Gabriel would have none of that. In a display of fast and accurate bowling, Gabriel, assisted by Alzarri Joseph, began to make inroads in the English batting line-up and, by the end of day, they had put West Indies in firm control heading into the final day.

The English eventually set a target of 200 runs for the West Indies to chase, and had them pinned against the ropes at 27-3. Having just lost Hope, in came Jermaine Blackwood, known for his flashy stroke play and a tendency of throwing his hand away. He played a most disciplined and timely knock.

Led by Stokes and Archer, England huffed and puffed like the big bad wolf, but Blackwood was resolute, defiant, showing nerves of steel as he played arguably his best knock thus far in his relatively short Test match career to guide West Indies to victory. He had a few lives and rode his luck, but that shouldn't take away from this match-winning innings. He eventually fell for 95, but by that time the match had already been won.

The West Indies have taken a liking to the English in recent times, challenging them in every series, and famously won back the Wisden Trophy in the Caribbean last year. England will be licking their wounds, but it is often said: Be wary of wounded animal. So, without a doubt, come the second Test, they'll be fired up and looking to put this loss behind them.

On the other hand, buoyed by this victory, the Windies will be on the hunt like a shark smelling blood. They'll be eager to pounce on the wounded English and wrap up this series come the second Test. We will be watching.

 

Kemar Bogle

knb800@yahoo.com