West Indies v England: Three talking points as Blackwood shines
Three talking points as Jermaine Blackwood shows some resolve for the West Indies
Blackwood shows maturity beyond his years with majestic century
On a day where the West Indies needed to show some serious resolve, one pint-sized hero stood tall above the others. Jermaine Blackwood, in only his sixth Test match, produced a brilliant knock ending the innings unbeaten on 112 for a first Test century. He did ride his luck at times, particularly against the bowling of an unfortunate Ben Stokes, who after finding the edge only to have overstepped, saw a regulation chance from Blackwood put down on his way to his first Test ton. Even the immovable Shiv Chanderpaul was removed before Blackwood as the youngster struck two sixes in a wonderfully mature innings. The unfortunate thing for him will be the fact a lack of support saw his side bundled out for just 295, relinquishing a sizable lead to England.
Bowlers endure mixed day but get the job done to leave healthy lead
On what is still a good pitch, England’s bowlers had a mixed day for the most part. With Stokes’ frustrations and dropped catches causing havoc for the visitors, James Anderson managed to pick up a second wicket in the innings, moving ever closer to Sir Ian Botham’s record. The biggest positive for Alastair Cook’s side will be James Tredwell, who bowled beautifully in taking four wickets. Question marks do however remain over Chris Jordan, who bowled erratically for the majority of the day, struggling to find any consistancy and build up of pressure. Stuart Broad, too, had his struggles but for the most part did well and will just be keen to get overs under his belt after so long out. What they did manage to do as a collective was restrict the West Indies to 295 and hand their batsmen a lead of 104.
Middle-order save England as openers fluff their lines for a second time
With a healthy lead, Cook and Jonathan Trott should have walked out to the crease with confidence. While they were probably feeling good about proceedings they probably wouldn’t have been anticipating a brilliant opening spell from Jerome Taylor, getting Trott caught behind with an unplayable swinging delivery before forcing Cook to push at an outswinger. When Ian Bell was run out for 11, there were some serious problems for England at 52-3 but Gary Ballance (44*) and Joe Root (32*) combined to end the day 116-3 leading by 220. The pair will be keen to push on tomorrow and set up a target for England’s bowlers to first defend and then force a winning position.