Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Blackwood, Joseph fifties help Windies hold off Black Caps

Published:Saturday | December 5, 2020 | 7:44 AM
West Indies's Jermaine Blackwood has the ball fly over his head while batting against New Zealand during play on day three of their first cricket test in Hamilton, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
West Indies's Jermaine Blackwood has the ball fly over his head while batting against New Zealand during play on day three of their first cricket test in Hamilton, New Zealand, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)

HAMILTON, New Zealand, (CMC):

Counter-attacking unbeaten half-centuries from Jermaine Blackwood and tail-ender Alzarri Joseph helped West Indies stave off defeat inside three days, after 16 wickets tumbled on the third day of the opening Test here Saturday.

Rocking on 89 for six in their second innings in the final session after being asked to follow on by 381 runs, the Caribbean side was lifted out of the doldrums by Blackwood who unfurled a dashing 80 off 98 balls and Joseph, who played with gay abandon for his 59 off 73 deliveries.

Together, they forged a precious unbroken seventh wicket stand of 107 which frustrated the five-pronged seam attack employed by the hosts, forcing the contest into a fourth day on Sunday.

Arriving at the crease at 27 for four and with the innings only 49 deliveries old, Blackwood chose attack as the best form of defense, hammering nine fours and two powerfully struck sixes.

Joseph, meanwhile, punched nine fours and a six in a composed maiden Test half-century which belied his inexperience and otherwise ordinary batting average of seven.

The partnership was badly needed after West Indies, resuming from their overnight 49 without loss were rolled over for 138 in their first innings just over an hour after lunch.

Opener John Campbell added four to his 22 at the start to top-score while captain Jason Holder battled to an unbeaten 25 and Blackwood, 23.

However, once West Indies lost five wickets in the first session to crash to 79 for five, they were always facing an uphill battle to avoid the follow on, and another collapse after lunch taken at 114 for five, served as confirmation.

Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich did not bat because of a hand injury and will not pad up in the second innings either.

Veteran seamer Tim Southee snared four for 35 while Kyle Jamieson (2-25) and left-armer Neil Wagner (2-33) picked up two wickets apiece.

West Indies fared no better in their second turn at the crease as the top folded quickly with Campbell (2), Darren Bravo (12), Shamarh Brooks (2) and Kraigg Brathwaite (10) all departing cheaply.

At tea, the Windies were reeling on 30 for four and when Roston Chase was lbw to Jamieson in the fifth over afterwards, the innings was in the mire at 53 for five.

Blackwood attempted a rescue effort in a 36-run, sixth wicket stand with Holder who lived dangerously for his eight before unsurprisingly perishing, leaving Joseph to fill the gap late on.