July 8, 2020, marked the return of international cricket after four months of complete cricket lockdown.
Although the Windies and England broke the game’s drought, there is still uncertainty in many countries.
Several competitions have been postponed for an indefinite period; cricket leagues and championships worldwide have been disturbed, Asia Cup 2020 has been postponed to 2021, and the fate of ICC T20 World Cup 2020 is still unknown.
In these circumstances, the series between England and Windies, which got underway a few days ago, was a breath of fresh air to fans.
And in fantastic style, it did indeed return with a thrilling Windies win in England for the first in a long time.
The Windies took the lead to go one up in the three-match test series.
England missed the trick by missing out Stuart Broad. His inclusion in the team could have made a difference in the outcome of the match.
The match was evenly poised up to teatime on day four when the bowlers strike to make it swing in the Windies way.
Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph picked important wickets, and captain Jason Holder took the crucial wicket of his opposite number, Ben Stokes, the English team captain. Windies bowler’s end the day by picking up five wickets in the final session.
It was now down to day 5, with England having two wickets remaining. England was expecting Jofra Archer and Mark Wood to stay at the crease for some time and score some runs, but the tail-enders added just 29 runs before Shannon Gabriel got both the batsmen.
A 200 target was set for the Windies team to beat. However, the men from the Caribbean did not get the best start.
They lost three quick wickets. At lunch, the team score was 35/3, with John Campbell retired hurt after Jofra Archer hit him on the toe.
Then came out Jermaine Blackwood, who played the most important innings of the match. He scored 95 off 154 deliveries that also include a fiery spell from Archer. Windies, however, could not be denied the win.
It was an all-round performance from both teams.
Jason Holder taking six wickets in the first innings, Shannon Gabriel took nine wickets in the match including a five-for in the second innings which also earned him the man-of-the-match award.
Kraigg Brathwaite and Roston Chase showed their mettle with the bat as well as Jermaine Blackwood with his match-winning knock of 95 runs.
It was Ben Stokes’ first match as England captain, and he didn’t disappoint. Stokes made valuable contributions with the bat as well as with the ball.
James Anderson again showed his class despite his age; Jofra Archer took wickets in the second innings; Zak Crawley is almost certain of his position for the second test match when Joe Root returns.
Going 1-nil down in the series, England will be thinking of all the tactics they can use to come back stronger in the second test match.
And for Windies, it is a golden opportunity for them to win the next game and seal the series and win the series.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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