England suffered a terrible blow as West Indies routed them by four wickets in the first Test at the Ageas Bowl. Jermaine Blackwood played a match-winning knock to help his side go over the rope. Meanwhile, more trouble waits for England as fans accused veteran English pacer James Anderson of applying saliva on the ball.
The home side was on the back foot from the word go. The visitors produced excellent spells to keep the English batters in check and then ensured a crucial lead in the first innings. Man of the match Shannon Gabriel led the charge in the second innings to keep England at 313; thus setting up a target of 200 runs.
Did James Anderson use saliva to shine the ball?
Jofra Archer fired things up early on day 5 with quick wickets but Jermaine Blackwood held the ship tight from one end. He stitched small partnerships with Roston Chase and Jason Holder to close in on the target. Although Blackwood missed a well-deserved century by 5 runs; Holder ensured they sail past the target easily.
Soon after the defeat, critics came hard on the England side. It doubled as fans accused James Anderson of applying saliva on the ball. Incidentally, ICC has banned cricketers from applying saliva on the ball in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fans pointed out at footage from the sixth over of West Indies’ run chase. However, the evidence was inconclusive because of the camera angle. Anderson’s mouth was out of shot as he reaches up to obtain fluid in order to shine the ball.
— Si Lomas (@SLomasSCFC1883) July 12, 2020
However, when the angle was clear it showed James Anderson rubbed his forehead to shine the ball. Sky Sports Cricket later showed alternative camera angles to show that the veteran pacer was, in fact, wiping his face to use sweat, not saliva, to shine the ball. Former English skipper Nasser Hussain also cleared the air during commentary later in the day.