West Indies skipper Jason Holder was elated on Sunday after the team scripted an impressive four-wicket win against hosts England in the opener of the three-game series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. Holder labelled the victory as one of their best.
But much ahead of the delightful win came a period of horror early on day 5 when the visitors lost three quick wickets while opener John Campbell walked off with an injured toe. Windies were in dire need of a partnership to see off the morning session and the fifth-wicket stand of Roston Chase and Jermaine Blackwood provided them that steady platform before another one comprising the latter and Shane Dowrich. And amid this Blackwood carved out a gritty 95.
"One of our best victories, started off Holder in the post-match presentation. "Blackwood was outstanding. Disappointing to see him get out on 95 but that's how he plays. Jermaine always tries and never short on effort, and today was his big moment."
Holder however was more descriptive about how West Indies fought back on day 4 on a pitch of uneven bounce and little on offer for the pacers. Windies were devoid of much penetration despite disciplined bowling and only found success in the final session of the day when Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph combined to take five wickets.
"Yesterday was the best day I had in Test cricket. All the bowlers toiled hard yesterday, and it was a hard-fought day of Test cricket. I don't think any team knew. We had been sat at home doing nothing. We had time to prepare, but you never know. John took a blow today, but hopefully he will come through. We knew what was at stake yesterday evening. We knew we had 98 overs, and we had to go to 7PM. Alzarri and I thought we would bowl till 6:30 and the other two would take over. It would've been difficult to push for a win if we didn't bowl extremely well on a flat pitch," Holder said.
The next Test will be played at the Old Trafford Ground in Manchester, starting July 16.