The West Indies won the first international cricket match since the sport’s return after the coronavirus outbreak, beating England late on Day 5 of a thrilling first test at an empty Rose Bowl on Sunday.
Jermaine Blackwood top-scored with 95 as West Indies overcame an early wobble to win by four wickets in the final session. John Campbell hit the winning run to finish his interrupted innings on 8 not out. He was hugged by captain Jason Holder, who was 14 not out.
West Indies ended on 200-6 in its second innings to take an early lead in the three-test series.
The tourists had resumed after tea on 143-4, still 57 runs from the victory target.
Blackwood and Roston Chase had revived West Indies with a 73-run partnership which ended when Chase was caught behind for 37 against hostile pace from Barbados-born Jofra Archer. Before the pair came together, West Indies was 27-3.
Blackwood and Shane Dowrich shared a 68-run stand for the fifth wicket before stand-in England captain Ben Stokes had ‘keeper Dowrich caught behind for 20. Stokes also claimed Blackwood’s wicket with 11 runs needed with James Anderson providing the catch.
“We got ourselves into some great positions at times with the bat and unfortunately we just weren’t ruthless enough to really go on and make our batting innings count,” Stokes told Sky Sports.
Archer ended with 3-45. His two early wickets gave West Indies problems in a seemingly straightforward chase after he removed Kraigg Brathwaite (4) and Shamarh Brooks (0), and Mark Wood bowled Shai Hope for 9.
West Indies had the added problem of opener Campbell retiring hurt after being hit on the toe with a yorker from Archer. The West Indies team said Campbell would come out to bat again if needed — and he was needed.
Archer made the breakthrough in the sixth over when Brathwaite played on. Archer had Brooks lbw in his next over and the victory target didn’t seem so easy anymore.
Hope played two cover drives for four to ease the early pressure but Wood came into the attack and knocked out Hope’s off stump as he tried to hit another and England had the upper hand.
Blackwood’s half-century settled the West Indies in the second session. He hit a total of 12 fours and was aided by Chase.
Chase was caught behind off a mean bouncer but the West Indies fightback was in full flow and that was the only wicket to fall in the second session.
Holder was delighted with the performance of his side.
“It is right up there as one of the best victories we have had as a group,” he said. “I think yesterday was a hard-fought day of test cricket, and we really reaped the rewards at the very end.”
Archer earlier made 23 with the bat as England was bowled out for 313 in its second innings after resuming the day on 284-8. Pace bowler Shannon Gabriel finished with 5-75 for the West Indies after collecting the two wickets on Sunday morning that wrapped up the England innings. Gabriel claimed 4-62 in the first innings for a nine-wicket match haul.
England scored 204 in its first innings and West Indies replied with 318.
Stokes did not regret leaving out bowler Stuart Broad, who had played the previous 51 home tests.
“If I was to regret that, I don’t think that sends the right message to the other guys I picked,” Stokes said.
The second test starts Thursday in Manchester.