Jermaine Blackwood justified his recall with a stunning match-winning inning as West Indies beat England by 4 wickets in a gripping first Test at the Rose Bowl.
Blackwood was offered another opportunity to show he can suffice in the longest format after being dropped last year and he got it with both hands on a tense final day behind closed doors in Southampton.
The Windies were set 200 to win a fantastic first international match given that the coronavirus pandemic brought the sport to a halt, Shannon Gabriel taking 5-75 and match figures of 9-137 to bowl England out for 313.
Barbados-born paceman Jofra Archer struck twice as the tourists plunged to 27-3, with John Campbell also retired hurt, however, Blackwood came to the rescue.
The Jamaican made a mature, classy 95, hitting 12 boundaries before falling agonizingly short of a second Test century – 5 years after his first against England.
Roston Chase (37) provided great assistance for Blackwood, who was dropped on 5 and 20, and the Windies sealed only their second Test win in England in 20 years the final session.
Ben Stokes will face questions over his decision to bowl first in his first match as captain, with Joe Root set to return for a second Test starting at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Archer showed his ability with the bat after England resumed on 284 -8, making an important 23 runs before he gloved Gabriel behind on the hook after Mark Wood nicked the paceman through to Shane Dowrich.
West Indies were in need of a strong start to the run chase, however, a fantastic opening spell from Archer (3-45) made it very much advantage for England.
Kraigg Brathwaite sliced on to the fast and the tourists still only had 7 on the board when Shamarh Brooks was trapped leg before without scoring.
Campbell was also back in the pavilion retired hurt after being struck on the toe by Archer and Wood got in on the act by removing Shai Hope’s off stump.
Chase survived an lbw shout before lunch, which was taken at 35-3, and Stokes could not take a chance to dismiss Blackwood in the slips, having misjudged where the ball would go.
Chase and Blackwood ticked over nicely, however, a stand of 73 ended when the former fell to a brute of delivery in a hostile spell from Archer after Zak Crawley made a mess of a run-out opportunity.
Blackwood played with great composure and raised his half-century after Dowrich successfully reviewed, having been given out caught at slip off his elbow.
The tourists needed 57 in the final session with 6 wickets left and Stokes removed Dowrich (20) in only his 5th over after he had him caught from the previous ball but overstepped.
Blackwood kept a cool head and in complete control of the situation before driving Stokes (2-39) to James Anderson at mid-off to miss out on a century.
— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) July 12, 2020
Watch Cricket Highlights: England vs West Indies 1st Test Day 5 13th July 2020 Match Highlights
Test Championship points table:
With the win, West Indies gained 40 points and moved about South Africa in the points table. The Caribbean outfit is now in the seventh spot in the 9-team competition England, on the other hand, remained in the 3rd position with 146 points.
India continues to be at the top with 360 points followed by Australia and New Zealand. Bangladesh is now the only team that is yet to open its account in the championship.
Here is the updated ICC World Test Championship Points Table:
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