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Blackwood stands tall but England takes lead

Taylor rocks top-order but visitor ends third day on 116 for 3 for an overall lead of 220

Blackwood stands tall but England takes lead - Cricket News
England overcame a maiden Test century by Jermaine Blackwood and quick strikes by Jerome Taylor to work itself into a position of strength, ending the third day of the third Test against the West Indies on 116 for 3 for an overall lead of 220 runs at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
 
England was 20 for 2, with Taylor having prised out both openers, and then 52 for 3 when Ian Bell was run-out. But Gary Ballance (44 not out) and Joe Root (32 not out) ensured there was no collapse by resisting the initial threat and then building a fine partnership on Wednesday (April 15).
 
Taylor had nipped out both Jonathan Trott (4) and Alastair Cook (13) in an opening burst of accurate and quick bowling, but Bell got together with Ballance to steer England to calmer waters. After he fell, Ballance and Root played with assurance and composure to give England the upper hand.
 
England had earlier established a 104-run first-innings lead after bowling the West Indies out for 295 at the stroke of tea. Blackwood, who hit an unbeaten 112 in a stay that spanned almost six hours, was the man who held the West Indies essay together.
 
His innings was all about restraint, playing out 220 balls, most of which were either left or defended with confidence. He became the first West Indies batsman since Denesh Ramdin in November 2012 (against Bangladesh in Dhaka) to score a century from No.6, and the first since Shivnarine Chanderpaul in March 2009 (against England in Port of Spain) to do so at home.
 
Fittingly, it was with Chanderpaul that he had his best association.
 
Overnight on 155 for 4, Chanderpaul and Blackwood focussed on consolidating their partnership. Chanderpaul began the day with a rare bit of aggression, hitting James Anderson for consecutive boundaries, but both he and Blackwood settled down after that.
 
England broke through when Cook brought on James Tredwell to bowl his off-spin for a fresh spell in the seventh over of the day, and shortly into his spell, Tredwell got Chanderpaul to hit straight in the covers to break a stand that had been worth 93 runs in 41.2 overs.
 
Chanderpaul had made 46, missing out on a half-century but during the course of his 139-ball knock, he went past Mahela Jayawardene to be seventh on the list of highest run-getters in Test cricket.
 
Ramdin, the captain, then fell eight minutes before lunch, gloving Stuart Broad down the legside for Jos Buttler to take a straightforward catch behind the stumps.
 
With the West Indies having slipped to 227 for 6, Jason Holder provided able assistance to Blackwood, batting with purpose and commitment in helping his team-mate reach a maiden Test century. When Blackwood reached his hundred, Holder hugged him, even as the dressing room stood up to clap in unison. The landmark had come with a single off Tredwell and spanned 205 deliveries and 296 minutes.
 
However, soon after Blackwood got to hundred, Holder became Tredwell’s third victim, caught by Ballance in the covers. Kemar Roach too fell to the same bowler soon after, as Tredwell finished with figures of 4 for 47 from 26 overs.
 
Anderson finished the proceedings with Sulieman Benn’s wicket and took his overall tally to 382 in his 100th Test, just two short of surpassing Sir Ian Botham and becoming his country’s highest Test wicket-taker.  

To see the full scorecard of this match, please click here.

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