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England v West Indies

‘From the first ball, Stokes was in my ear’ – Blackwood reveals England’s sledging attempts

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood, whose plucky 95 steered the side to a win against England in the Southampton Test, has revealed how Ben Stokes’s side tried to rattle him with words during his fourth-innings knock.

Blackwood’s 95 laid the cornerstone for West Indies’ pursuit of 200, which they reached with four wickets to spare, but throughout his 154-ball knock, the No.6 had to cop verbal attacks from the England fielders.

“From the first ball the captain Ben Stokes was in my ear,” Blackwood said. “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.

“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.”

Needing 200 to win on a final day Southampton pitch, West Indies slipped to 27-3 inside 12 overs but were revived by Blackwood’s partnerships with Roston Chase and Shane Downrich. With 11 runs to go, Blackwood chipped a James Anderson half-volley straight to mid-off, five short of what would have been his second Test century, but John Campbell and Jason Holder wrapped up the chase soon after.

Coach Phil Simmons lauded Blackwood for showing composure through the tricky period. “I didn’t realise England were doing that but it’s what I would have done too to try to get him [ Blackwood ] irrational,” Simmons said.

“But he held his own and played the situation as well as he could. That shows his mindset is improving.”

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