From the first ball, Ben Stokes was in my ear: Blackwood

Courtesy of Blackwood's 95 in the second essay, West Indies beat England by four wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

Manchester: West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood has revealed England tried to verbally take his mind off the game during his match-winning knock of 95 with stand-in skipper Ben Stokes leading the act.

Courtesy of Blackwood’s 95 in the second essay, West Indies beat England by four wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

“From the first ball the captain Ben Stokes was in my ear. I think they were trying to get me to play a rash shot but it didn’t faze me at any point. Once I was at the crease they were the ones under pressure, not me,” Blackwood was quoted as saying by ‘Wisden’.

“They knew they couldn’t bowl a loose ball at me. I can’t remember what was said but it was nothing bad. That’s cricket. You’ll always hear a bit of talking and that’s how it should be played.”

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Being just five runs close to a well-deserved century, Blackwood chipped a Ben Stokes delivery straight into the hands of James Anderson at mid-off. West Indies still needed 11 runs when he went back into the hut, which was easily scored by Jason Holder and John Campbell.

The Windies were reduced to 27/3 inside 12 overs but Blackwood shared two important stands with Roston Chase and Shane Downrich to keep his team in the hunt on the final day.

Meanwhile, England batsman Ollie Pope feels senior pacer Stuart Broad’s interview underlined his desire to play Test cricket for the country after being dropped for the first game.

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Broad was left out of the first Test and let his feelings known on national TV. Mark Wood, who picked up two wickets in two innings in Southampton, might make way for Broad in the second Test starting from Thursday here.

“You could see how much it hurt Broady for him to be left out of the first Test against West Indies and how much he still wants to play Test cricket for England,” Pope said in his blog for Sky Sports.



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