Test cricket was back and so was the thrill. Day 5 turned out to be the decider of the game as West Indies beat England by 5 wickets to go 1-0 up in the series. After all the reversed DRS referrals and poor umpiring, we witnessed the first international game amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
West Indies arrived in England weeks back to undergo the mandatory quarantine period. The overstay proved beneficial as the West Indies were better prepared this time. The first day started off with rain with just less than 17 overs bowled on the first day.
But the remaining four days saw teams bowling 90 odd overs in all the three sessions. On day five, the first session of the day started off with the England tailenders resuming the innings at 284 for eight.
Mark Wood and Jofra Archer continued their little partnership which started in the last session of the Day 4. Their partnership survived for 24 runs as Shannon Gabriel dismissed Archer off a bouncer. The England tail soon crumbled as England were all out for 313 putting up a lead of 199 runs on the board.
The West Indies had to chase a target of 200 within 80 odd overs in the day. The Maroon side’s openers walked out to bat with the clear intention of winning the game for West Indies.
England opened the innings with James Anderson and Archer. In no time the Barbados-born pacer picked two wickets to put West Indies on the backfoot. The visitors had their top four back in the pavilion with over 200 runs to chase.
Then walked in Jermaine Blackwood, who put up a 73 run partnership with Roston Chase to steady the ship and bring his side back in the game. They took the score till 100 for four until Chase got out courtesy another vicious bouncer from Jofra Archer. With England picking up wickets at odd intervals, the game was more or less tilted towards the host.
The dismissal of Chase brought Shane Dowrich in, who had struck a fifty in the first innings. The duo looked good until Ben Stokes brought himself into the attack and dismissed Dowrich caught behind. In all odds, it looked as if England might just pull off a victory out of nowhere.
However, Blackwood, who was nearing his 100 stood like a rock at one end. He was joined in by his skipper Jason Holder and both of them added a crucial few runs. West Indies were nearing the target with just 15 runs to win when all of a sudden Blackwood decided to play a lofted drive over mid-off only to get caught at mid-off by James Anderson.
With less than 15 runs to win, West Indies were in all sorts of trouble. They required someone to support Holder at the other end. In walked John Campbell who was earlier ruled out retired hurt after suffering a blow to his leg by Jofra Archer. After a brief stint at the crease by both Holder and Campbell, the duo chased down the target of 200 without further trouble.
The Caribbeans scripted history beating England as registered their first points in the ICC World Test Championship table. The host will be desperate to bounce back when they meet in the second Test starting from July 16.
Brief Score – West Indies (318 & 200/6) beat England (204 & 313) by 4 wickets.