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On This Day in 2020: West Indies Beat England in First Test as Cricket Resumes in Covid-19 Era

Joe Root

Joe Root

West Indies were the first nation to travel to England for a three-match Test series after a four-month hiatus due to COVID-19

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic brought the entire world to a standstill. The cricket fraternity was also massively affected by the virus as no matches were played anywhere across the globe for almost four months. The gentlemen’s game finally resumed on July 8 as the West Indies locked horns with England in a Test match. However, things weren’t the same as before as the entire Test series between West Indies and England was played in a bio secure bubble behind closed doors.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) laid out a lot of protocols and guidelines to ensure that the safety of the players and other members involved wasn’t compromised. West Indies were the first nation to travel to England for a three-match Test series after a four-month hiatus. The first Test match between both sides was played at the Rose Bowl in Southampton from July 8 to July 12.

The Test match saw a terrific game of cricket as West Indies caused a major upset for the dominating England by defeating them by four wickets. The match commenced with home skipper Ben Stokes winning the toss and electing to bat first. Batting in the first innings, England were bowled out for 204.

Stokes was the highest run-getter for his side as he played a sublime knock of 43 runs. West Indies bowlers presented a disciplined bowling action against English players. Jason Holder made headlines with a six-wicket haul while Shannon Gabriel picked four scalps. The second innings saw the visitors posting 318 runs on the board. The wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich was the wreck-in-chief as he added 61 runs to the scoreboard.

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Coming to the England bowlers, Ben Stokes led the attack by taking four scalps while James Anderson and Dom Bess returned with three and two wickets respectively. The third innings again saw the domination of the Caribbean bowlers as they were successful in stopping England to a score of 313 runs.

Gabriel led the bowling attack for the visitors as he ran through England’s batting line-up to pick five wickets. Apart from Gabriel, Roston Chase and Alzarri Joseph picked two wickets each. In the fourth innings, West Indies had to chase a target of 200 runs.

Scoring 200 wasn’t a difficult task for the Jason Holder-side as Jermaine Blackwood played a remarkable knock of 95 runs. The batting exploits by Blackwood helped the Caribbean side in winning the game by four wickets.

Before the match started, an emotional Michael Holding delivered a powerful message against racism saying the black race has been dehumanised and its accomplishments wiped off from a history “written by people who do the harm." Both teams’ players took the knee before the first ball was bowled while wearing Black Lives Matter logos on their shirts.

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first published:July 12, 2021, 08:54 IST