Blackwood leads fightback

2015-04-15 19:30
Jermaine Blackwood (AFP)

North Sound - Jermaine Blackwood has continued to ride his luck in defying England as the West Indies reached 234 for six in reply to the tourists' first innings total of 399 at lunch on the third day of the first Test on Wednesday

The teams have stopped for lunch at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Reprieved when he offered a slip catch off a no-ball delivered by Ben Stokes on the second evening, Blackwood enjoyed another moment of good fortune half-an-hour into the day when on 43 as James Tredwell failed on hold to a difficult chance diving to his left at gully. Stokes was the suffering bowler yet again.

Making the most of those lapses, the 23-year-old Jamaican reached 69 off 172 balls with nine fours and one six - his fourth half-century and highest Test score - at the break and will resume alongside Jason Holder (7 not out) as England still managed to make two important breakthroughs although they could not prevent the home side from getting past the follow-on target.

Holder also enjoyed a moment of good luck as he was dropped second ball at short-leg by Gary Ballance, having swung his first delivery off Broad to the backward square-leg boundary.

Blackwood's overnight partner, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, soldiered on for another 45 minutes before he was dismissed for 46, falling into a well-set trap when a mistimed drive at off-spinner James Tredwell found, ironically, Stokes in one of two short catching positions on the off-side.

The fifth-wicket pair put on 93 runs, but the senior batsman's departure brought an immediate sense of vulnerability to the rest of the West Indies batting line-up.

That potential fragility was magnified when new batsman Denesh Ramdin gloved a lifting leg-side delivery from Stuart Broad to depart for just nine and give wicketkeeper Jos Buttler his fourth catch of the innings.

Blackwood's positive style of batting kept England in a sense of anticipation whenever he was on strike, yet he continued to defy the bowlers with a mixture of aggression and stoic defence, especially when faced with a barrage of short-pitched bowling on the line of the body.

Read more on:    england  |  west indies  |  cricket

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