A remarkable collapse of 9/45 in 44 balls, including three sets of two wickets in two balls, saw the Jamaica Tallawahs collapse from 84/0 and fall short of a modest target against a canny St Lucia Zouks side who are making a habit of defending low totals in Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020.

Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller said batsman Andre McCarthy is devastated that he will not be able to play in the 2020 CPL season that begins in Trinidad later this month.

Windies batsman Jermaine Blackwood has leapt to the defense of Caribbean regional cricket, strongly disagreeing with those who disparage the competition.

For some, the West Indies' recent and consistent failure on the international stage, in recent years, is in large part due to regional players being unable to attain the competitive standard required for international cricket, after taking part in a substandard regional competition.

In several instances, players that have dominated the regional season have gone on to struggle against international opponents, once called up for the West Indies.  Blackwood, who heaped up 768 runs in 15 innings for Jamaica, including a double hundred against the Leeward Islands in the tournament's last match, however, has gone on to register a dominant performance against England.  He believes things are changing.

“To be honest I don’t pay too much attention to who is taking this or that, everyone has their opinion,” Blackwood told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“For me, personally, things are heading in the right direction in the Caribbean.  I think I put in a lot of work to score some runs in the regional 4-dayers and definitely you can see it in my body language and approach to Test cricket now.  So, it has helped me to become the player I am now, and you can see the growth in my batting.”

Jason Holder was surprised when England left out Stuart Broad for the first Test of their three-match series against his West Indies side.

The Windies won a close opening contest by four wickets, with a crucial 95 from Jermaine Blackwood helping the tourists get over the line on day five.

Broad, who has 485 Test wickets and impressed in South Africa at the end of last year, was left out of the line-up in Southampton by stand-in captain Ben Stokes.

Stokes also elected to bat first in overcast conditions, a move that came under scrutiny after England managed just 204 in their first innings.

West Indies captain Holder thought Broad would have played instead of either Jofra Archer or Mark Wood and was happy when Stokes opted to bat after winning the toss.

"This is a proud moment for us," Holder said in a column for the Daily Mail. "We really wanted to start this Test series well and to begin the way we have by winning the first Test is perfect. 

"Looking back at the game, it was my preference to bowl first so I didn't mind England deciding to bat and then our bowlers simply bowled their hearts out on a pretty flat pitch. 

"I was a little surprised England didn't pick Stuart Broad. 

"His record, particularly in this country, is outstanding and I thought they would leave out either Jofra Archer or Mark Wood. But they put out a high quality attack, that's for sure.

"As it went on it became close to the complete West Indian performance. There's no doubt the game changer was that fourth afternoon when we took five wickets after tea.

"Then we were able to finish it off on the last day. It's been a while since we had Shannon Gabriel on the park due to injury so to see him back firing on all cylinders was brilliant. 

"We were always confident we would get 200 to win but losing three quick wickets and John Campbell to injury wasn't ideal. 

"But the partnership between Jermaine Blackwood and Roston Chase was just what we wanted and it was really good to see Jermaine going as deep as he did. 

"This was a career-reviving innings for Jermaine. He's a very exciting player and he grabbed this opportunity with both hands."

The second Test at Old Trafford, for which Joe Root will return as the hosts' captain following the birth of his second child, starts on Thursday, with West Indies knowing they will retain the Wisden Trophy if they avoid defeat.

West Indies captain Jason Holder was full of praise for middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood, whose knock of 95 provided the foundation for the West Indies four-wicket win against England in the first Test of the #Raisethebat series on Sunday.

Jason Holder saluted Shannon Gabriel and Jermaine Blackwood after they "led the charge" in a magnificent four-wicket win for West Indies over England in the first Test.  

Fit-again quick Gabriel took 5-75 – giving him match figures of 9-137 - to bowl England out for 313 and leave the tourists needing 200 for victory on the final day at the Rose Bowl.  

West Indies were in deep trouble on 27-3 with John Campbell having retired hurt due to a toe injury, but Blackwood and Roston Chase (37) put on 73 for the fourth wicket.  

Recalled batsman Blackwood fell for a classy and mature 95, but Campbell returned to hit the winning runs on a gripping Sunday behind closed doors in Southampton.  

Holder was full of praise for his side after they secured victory in the first international fixture since the coronavirus pandemic brought sport to a halt.

The Windies captain told Test Match Special: "I'm really happy. The boys have worked hard and it's good to see it pay off. 

"I'm happy that Gabriel came back well and Blackwood too. They put their hands up and led the charge. 

"It was a nerve-wracking start after losing quick three wickets and Campbell to injury. But Roston and Jermaine put on a good partnership and settled the nerves. From there we could build on. 

"I missed the Barmy Army. But it was a level playing field without the crowds. It's been a good start back to international cricket, it sets the series up quite nicely." 

The second Test begins at the bio-secure bubble of Old Trafford on Thursday, with West Indies eyeing a first series win in England since 1988. 

Jermaine Blackwood justified his recall with a magnificent match-winning innings as West Indies beat England by four wickets in a gripping first Test at the Rose Bowl.

In just his sixth Test, Jermaine Blackwood showed class in scoring a century against England all the way back in 2015.

Two and a half years later, Blackwood had been dropped, having never made the three-figure mark in another innings.

In those two and a half fairly barren years, nobody doubted Blackwood’s talent. But everybody doubted his temperament.

He seemed too willing to throw his wicket away. Now Blackwood is back with the West Indies squad and despite scoring a duck in the first practice game before his side again takes on the might of the English in England, the Jamaican swears by the changes he has made to his game.

“I want to add a little bit more to my game and bat time. I'm really pushing hard for that and I'm really putting the mental work as well in, to bat time, Blackwood has said.

Once I bat time, I will score runs

He has not played Test cricket for two and a half years but he says: “This opportunity has come out and I have to grab it with both hands. I have something to go out there and prove against all the best bowlers in the world, I want to score runs against them."

Back in 2015, on a final day North Sound pitch, Blackwood’s West Indies faced a first-innings total from England of 399 thanks in large part to Ian Bell’s 143, Joe Root’s 83 and Ben Stokes’ 79.

The West Indies would end up well short of that total, scoring 295 in their reply but Blackwood’s innings got them close and helped the hosts stay in the contest and eventually come out with a draw.

Uncharacteristically, Blackwood was measured in his approach to the innings, batting for more than five and a half hours and facing 220 deliveries for an unbeaten 112.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 46, Kraigg Brathwaite, 39, and Marlon Samuels, 33, were the only other batsmen who offered any resistance to a bowling attack that read James Anderson, 2-67, Stuart Broad, 2-67, Chris Jordan, 1-46 and James Tredwell, 4-47.

Despite the quality of the bowling attack, Blackwood was not troubled, navigating the bowlers with skill beyond his years. After all, this was just his sixth Test match.

It would take 14 boundaries and two sixes for Blackwood to bring up his tally, the most classy of which was a straight hit off the bowling of Stokes.

But the signs of Blackwood’s nature were there even in that innings. While he showed good patience for much of the innings, the day could have ended earlier, as Blackwood did have some fortune.

He was caught off a no-ball from Ben Stokes on 21 and dropped at slip on 43, granted that chance was tough.

He was also peppered with short balls and even hit on the forearm, but Blackwood would stay put throughout, emerging from long slumbers of defending to audacious moments of attack.

If only there were more moments like that when the diminutive Jamaican would find that which is most needed in Test cricket, balance. He says he understands what to do these days, let’s wait to see if there is more in him like he managed to pull out on those fateful first two days of Test cricket all the way back in 2015.

Jermaine Blackwood scored most runs but fast bowler Alzarri Joseph topped the batting averages during the recently concluded West Indies Championships.

The Jamaica Scorpions, with a lead of 167 and just four second-innings wickets to get, are on the verge of a big victory against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes heading into the final day of their 2020 West Indies Championship game at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua & Barbuda.

Scores in the game so far, the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, 260 and 134-6, against the Jamaica Scorpions, 561-9 declared.

After a first-innings performance with the ball that restricted the Hurricanes to 260, thanks to Marquino Mindley’s 5-65 and Derval Green’s 4-84.

The Scorpions responded brilliantly courtesy of 248 from discarded West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood, who slammed 248, and by opener John Campbell, who scored his fifth first-class century, this time scoring 112.

Nkrumah Bonner, 48, and Jamie Merchant, 50 not out, played good supporting roles in helping the Scorpions rack up 561.

On Saturday, despite Montcin Hodge’s unbeaten 60, Green’s 2-49, Mindley’s 1-39, and 3-12 from Jamie Merchant, left the Hurricanes struggling at 134, still some 167 runs away from making the Scorpions bat again.

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel for the Hurricanes with Alzarri Joseph and Jeremiah Louis yet to bat. Joseph scored 89 in the first innings, while Louis also notched a half century, getting to 75 before he was last man out.

Hayden Walsh Jr is also still at the crease with Hodge on 18.

With just 24 runs to get on the third day of their West Indies Championship game against the Jamaica Scorpions, the Guyana Jaguars were always in the driver’s seat though they made heavy weather of it, taking eight overs and losing three wickets at the Trelawny Stadium on Saturday.

The seven-wicket victory was achieved courtesy of a first-day rout from Jaguars spinner Veerasammy Permaul, whose 7-59, left the hosts 216 all out, with just Jermaine Blackwood, 59, really putting up any resistance.

In reply, the Jaguars depended on half centuries from Chanderpaul Hemraj (82) and Vishaul Singh (93) to get to 304 and a healthy lead of 88. That lead was too much for the Scorpions who buckled under the pressure, collapsing for 111, a lead of just 24.

Permaul was back at it again in the second innings, bagging eight wickets this time. Those eight wickets cost just 18 runs to end with figures of 15-77. The other two wickets went to Kevin Sinclair, who ended with 2-26.

For the Scorpions, the only batsman into double figures, John Campbell, scored all of 66 runs as his side meekly gave up the ghost.

Sinclair, nine, Leon Johnson, two, and Tagenarine Chanderpaul, two, all lost their wickets in chase of the minuscule total, with Singh on five and Christopher Barnwell on four, the not out batsmen.

The Jamaica Scorpions are in a race against time headed into the final day of their West Indies Championship game against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes on Sunday at the Trelawny Muli-Purpose Stadium.

Scores in the match so far, the Scorpions, 385, and the Hurricanes, 227 and 134-4.

The Scorpions, batting first, posted the competitive total thanks to Jermaine Blackwood’s 98 and Denis Smith’s 84.

In reply, only Montcin Hodge, 52, and Terance Ward, 65, made it to landmarks while Amir Jangoo scored 35 before he was run out.

Patrick Harty was the pick of the Scorpions bowling, bagging 4-43 on the way to restricting the Hurricanes to just 227.

Batting a second time and facing a deficit of 158, the Hurricanes made a fight of it but were pegged back by Nicholas Gordon’s 2-44.

That fight came mostly from the bat of Kieran Powell, who scored 54 before Gordon had him caught by Smith.

1-37 from Harty and 1-27 from Pete Salmon left the Hurricanes 24 runs short with just six second-innings wickets still intact.

The Hurricanes could bat for a long time tomorrow and end the match in a stalemate, as Jahmar Hamilton, 12, and Ward, 20, have hunkered down.

The Scorpions, on the other hand, will look to get rid of these six wickets as soon as possible and set to the task of overhauling what they hope will be a very small target. They currently lead by 24 runs.

Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood narrowly missed out on a hundred but anchored Jamaica Scorpions to 33-run,first-innings lead so far against the Leeward Islands in Trelawny on Friday.

Blackwood hit the top score of 98 and the Scorpions batted consistently down the order to finish the day with a tidy advantage as the Scorpions closed on 260 for 6.

Blackwood shared stands of 52 with Paul Palmer for the third wicket and 58 with Oraine Williams for the fifth wicket to power the Scorpions’ innings.

Several others got starts, but they failed to carry on – Grenadian wicketkeeper/batsman Denis Smith, one of the Scorpions draft imports, was not out on 36; West Indies left-handed opener John Campbell, the Scorpions captain, made 35; Williams got 30 and Palmer added 21.

 West Indies off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall was the pick of the Hurricanes bowlers, taking 3-72 from 28 overs, and pacer Sheno Berridge captured 2-47 from 10 overs.

 Earlier, Hurricanes resumed from their overnight total of 215 for nine and were bowled out inside the first hour.

 Pacer Nicholson Gordon took the last wicket of Berridge for one and finished with 2-54 from 20.4 overs.

West Indies opener John Campbell showed signs of form with his fourth first-class hundred of 101 to lead a fight-back for hosts Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park after they were forced to follow on against Windward Islands Volcanoes, 167 behind on first innings.

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