Day 5 test match cricket down to the final hour of play.Nothing gets better than that.The west Indies won the match by 4 wickets to go 1-0 up in the three match series.
England captain Ben Stokes decided to have a bat first after winning the toss on a cloudy morning but he thought the pitch was dry.England went without Broad and Woakes and the West Indies handed a comeback to Jermain Blackwood.
Sibley was the only wicket to fall that day.He left a delivery from Gabriel which dismantled his off stump.Burns and Denly batted till the 17th over after which the rains didn’t stop so play had to be called off for day 1.
Trivia: Rory Burns became the first opening batsman for England to cross 1000 test runs since Alastair Cook achieved this feat.
England lost 5 wickets in the first session of the second day as Gabriel and Holder bowled with tremendous consistency bowling at a fuller length with conditions also in their favour.Denly found it difficult against the incoming delivery and lost his wicket to Gabriel who then set up Burns by bowling a few outswingers and then eventually trapping him in front of middle stump.Ollie Pope, falling to Holder was the last man to go before lunch.England looked steady when Butler and Stokes were batting.Both of them played their shots, Stokes walked down the pitch to throw Roach off his length and played some beautiful drives.But, the afternoon belonged to Jason Holder he dismissed the batsmen and the rest of the tail for a team total of 204.Coming out to bat,Brathwaite and Campbell dealt with the new ball but the latter eventually fell to Anderson after overturning the decision which was against him on two occasions.
Trivia: Denly averaged 9.50 against the incoming delivery after the first innings of this test match.
Brathwaite played 124 balls for his 65 before he was struck on his pads by Stokes and eventually given out.Shai Hope fell to the spinner Dom Bess.A meaningful hand of 61 from Keeper-Batsman Dowrich meant that The West Indies led by 114 runs at the end of their first innings finishing the day.
On day four, the pitch looked fine and the sun was shining making it ideal conditions for England to bat well and compete in the game.They did just that as Burns and Sibley played out the first hour and built a 72-run opening stand untill Burns cut a wide one against Roston Chase which went straight to the hands of point.Sibley, Known for the time he spends on the crease in domestic cricket proved his worth with a fighting half-century.He was caught down the leg side to Gabriel.Crawley played a top quality knock of 79 which tilted the tide in his team’s favour.He never looked out of sorts and scored a majority of his runs by attacking the spinner.
The hosts were in cruise control untill Holder dismissed Stokes for the second time in the game which triggered a collapse and wickets fell one after the other.England lost 5 for 30 runs after Crawley’s and stokes’ partnership.However, this set up an enthralling fifth day where all three results were on the cards.
England’s lower order added 30 runs to the overnight lead of 170 before they were all out thanks to Gabriel who picked up five wickets.The west Indies needed 200 runs to win the test match with the entire day to play out.
In the second innings Jofra bowled a fiery spell with the new ball.He sent two batsmen back to the pavillion and also injured Campbell’s toe with a deadly Yorker.Mark wood also joined the party as the west Indies were reeling at 35 for 3 at lunch.England were favourites to win this test match.In the second session, England dropped Blackwood twice and missed a run out opportunity in a span of 15 minutes which took the game away from them as Chase and Blackwood rebuilt their team’s innings.They endured a tough spell from Archer who bowler a barrage of bouncers to both batsman.He eventually got Roston Chase who got caught wrapped around his helmet and Butler completed the easy catch.Dowrich spent time in the middle and by tea the West Indies were in a winning position.
Blackwood continued to guide the team with support from Dowrich and Holder which eventually led to victory for the Windies.His 95 run knock was a blend of caution and aggression as he drove down the ground and played the upper cut really well throughout the course of his innings.
Trivia: West Indies registered only their 2nd victory in 20 years on English soil.
The series is not over yet.The second test will be played at The Old Trafford in Manchester on Thursday.England have plenty to ponder with full time captain Root coming back into the side.They will also have to look at Broad’s place in the eleven for the next test match.Broad, in an interview to sky said that he was ‘angry and frustrated’ at being dropped.
Credit to the West Indies for dishing out such a team performance and the commitment that they showed right from arriving in June for this series.This match was an excellent endorsement of the purest form of the game.This is the quality of test match cricket played when two top notch teams face off.
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