AAP Other sport

Windies celebrate Test win against England

By AAP Newswire

The Barmy Army was absent and so was England's voice as the West Indies registered a memorable victory in the first Test back from cricket's hiatus due to the coronavirus.

The Windies set up an exciting three-Test series with a four-wicket win in Southampton on Sunday.

Windies skipper Jason Holder has previously overseen memorable wins over England at Headingley, Barbados and Antigua, but was particularly thrilled with this one given the unique circumstances.

"It is right up there as one of the best victories we have had as a group," said Holder.

"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.

"To me, yesterday was probably the best day I have had in Test cricket.

"Credit must be given to everyone yesterday, I think yesterday was a hard-fought day of Test cricket, and we really reaped the rewards at the very end."

Jermaine Blackwood's match-winning 95 in a chase of 200 meant it was the West Indies who would be celebrating in the confines of the bio-secure Ageas Bowl.

But stand-in skipper Ben Stokes stood firm at the close.

"I've really enjoyed the responsibility of leading the team and making decisions. We lost but I'm not going to look back with any regrets," he said.

"I think we know where the moments were in the game where we lost it. I can't fault anybody, they're all absolutely exhausted in the changing room."

England made early inroads into the West Indies chase, reducing the visitors to 3-27.

When opener John Campbell retired hurt following a toe-crushing yorker from Jofra Archer, Blackwood came in before lunch and began to anchor the innings, sharing a 73-run stand with Roston Chase (37).

The Barbados-born Archer, who finished with 3-45, troubled the batsmen throughout with his pace and bounce but England couldn't contain Blackwood.

In the end the 28-year-old Jamaican narrowly missed out on his second Test century when he tried to lift a Stokes delivery over the infield, only to gift James Anderson a catch.

Campbell then returned to the crease with West Indies six wickets down to join Holder, who played a patient knock of 14 off 36 balls, to guide the Windies home in the final session.

Earlier, England were bowled out for 313 in their second innings after resuming on 8-284, with the overnight pair of Archer and Mark Wood failing to offer much resistance.

Shannon Gabriel finished with figures of 5-75 - his sixth five-wicket haul in Tests - while Chase and Alzarri Joseph picked up two wickets apiece.

The second and third Tests will be held in Manchester, also without fans in attendance.