England Lose First Test Match Since Covid-19 Stopped All Forms of Cricket

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 09: Joe Denly of England is bowled by Shannon Gabriel of the West Indies during day two of the 1st #RaiseTheBat Test match at The Ageas Bowl on July 09, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB)

England have lost first Test to West Indies in a gripping contest, Jermaine Blackwood’s magnificent 95 helped the West Indies to a memorable four-wicket victory at the Rose Bowl.

Chasing 200 on the final day in Southampton, the tourists were reduced to 27-3 and lost opener John Campbell retired hurt, mainly to a fired-up Jofra Archer.

Nerves of Steel Blackwood calmly combined with Roston Chase for a stand of 73, then added 68 with Shane Dowrich which ultimately won them the contest.

England had chances to dismiss Blackwood. Ben Stokes, Captaining the side in place of Joe Root, failed to get a hand on a tough opportunity at slip off Dom Bess, gully Rory Burns and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler both dropped catches off Stokes, and Zak Crawley could not gather the ball in the covers when Blackwood and Chase got in a mix-up running a single.

Stand-in captain Stokes threatened to inspire England yet again first by removing Dowrich, then Blackwood when only 11 were needed.

But a limping Campbell returned to join captain Jason Holder and scamper the winning run.

It means West Indies take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, while Stokes is condemned to defeat in his first match as skipper.

Joe Root will return to lead England when the second behind-closed-doors Test begins at Old Trafford on Thursday.

If the tourists avoid defeat there, they will retain the Wisden Trophy they earned with a series victory in the Caribbean 18 months ago.

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