Southampton: There was great hype all around the world about the resumption of international cricket. The match between England and Windies stood to the expectations and delivered entertainment to the fans. Although no audience was allowed into the stadium to cheer their favorite players, supporters have watched the match in high numbers on the digital platform and enjoyed the game.
England batting – 1st innings
Ben Stokes, playing as the captain of his side for the first time, has won the toss and elected to bat first on a green surface, which was proved not to be a great decision. England lost Sibley for a duck in the 2nd over itself and kept losing wickets at regular intervals as Windies bowlers bowled with great discipline and made English batsmen work hard for their runs. Bowling friendly conditions aided the Windies bowlers. After 38 overs, England was in real trouble sitting at 87 for the loss of 5 wickets. At this point in time, a valuable 60+ run partnership between Stokes and Buttler got England to a better position, but as Holder got rid of Stokes, England’s innings once again suffered a shock as remaining batsmen formed a queue back to the pavilion without troubling the scorecard much. They were bundled out for 204 runs. Stokes remained the highest run-scorer of the innings with 43 runs to his name while Holder and Gabriel shared 6 and 4 wickets respectively.
Windies gain the 1st innings lead – 2nd innings
Situations got better for batters in the meantime, and Windies batsmen were more comfortable at the crease than the English batsmen. Brathwaite gave them a good start with 65 runs under his belt, and Chase and Dowrich have rightly supported him with their 47 and 61 run innings. Small contributions from remaining batsmen Campbell(28), Brooks(39) took Windies to 318 runs giving them a handy lead of 114 runs.
England put up a par target – 3rd innings
Starting the innings with a 114 run deficit score, England’s openers played cautiously by not giving any chance to Windies bowlers to gain the upper hand over them. Finally, Chase broke the 72 run partnership by dismissing Burns. Denly couldn’t convert his good start of 29 runs into great innings, but Crawley scored a valuable 79 runs. Stokes’s 46 and Archer’s 23 runs took their tally to 313 runs, thereby posting exactly 200 runs to chase on the board. Gabriel was the pick of the bowlers with five wickets to his name.
Blackwood becomes a hero – 4th innings
Chasing the not-so-big target, Windies fumbled initially in the innings as they lost three wickets along with an injury in rapid succession as the scoreboard read 27/3. Chase(43) and Blackwood(95) stood tall against English bowling line up and stitched a 73 run partnership. Though Chase got dismissed at 100 runs on the board, Blackwood took the responsibility and took the score forward. By the time he got dismissed, his team was almost close to the victory as they needed just 11 runs with four wickets in hand. Holder and Campbell finished off the formalities to hand Windies 4 wicket victory over England and 40 points in the World Test Championship.
Shannon Gabriel was awarded Man of the Match for his stellar nine-wicket performance in the Test Match.
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