TASTE OF VICTORY

Cricket - First Test - England v West Indies - Rose Bowl Cricket Stadium, Southampton, Britain - July 11, 2020 West Indies' Shannon Gabriel in action, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Mike Hewitt/Pool via REUTERS

West Indies took a giant leap towards their first win in their three-match series on English soil in over two decades when they held their nerve to stun the hosts by four wickets in the opening Test at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Sunday.

For West Indies, the Test win was the only their second on English soil in two decades but their fifth win over England in their last 10 Tests inside the last five years.

Asked to chase a tricky 200 in two and a-half sessions, West Indies reached their target approaching the final hour when opener John Campbell, who returned to bat after retiring hurt one in the fourth over, turned medium fast bowler, Ben Stokes to square leg for a single.

West Indies’ Jermaine Blackwood in action, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the first Test between England v West Indies at the Rose Bowl Cricket Stadium, Southampton, Britain on July 12, 2020.                                                  Adrian Dennis / Pool via REUTERS

The right-handed Jermaine Blackwood was at the forefront of the run chase, top-scoring with a superb 95 to hold together an innings which lay in shambles at 27 for three in the first session after Barbados-born Jofra Archer (3-45) produced lethal two wicket burst to help demolish the top order.

Blackwood consumed 154 balls in a shade of three and a quarter hours-mostly authoritative off-stride strokes.

Enjoying his first start in a Test in nearly three years, he put on 73 for the fourth wicket with Roston Chase who made 37 before adding a further 68 for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich who made a dogged 20.

Blackwood impressed in the recent West Indies First Class Championship where he plundered nearly 800 runs at an average of 51 and Holder said he had merited his place in the side by the sheer weight of his performances.

Man–of- the- Match, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel had earlier snatched the last two wickets to finish with a five-wicket haul. England ended on 313 all out leaving West Indies with 200 to win on the final day.

On the second day of the medium fast bowler Jason Holder produced the best figure by a West Indies captain against England with a career-best six wicket haul to reduce England to 204 all out.

There were no fans to cheer on the West Indies to victory since the match was played behind closed doors at the venue.

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