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Need to build pressure and attack Indian batsmen, says Blackwood

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Jermaine Blackwood (Image Credit: skysports.com)

West Indies won the toss and elected to bat against India at second match at Jamaica. WI were bowled out for 196 and India ended the day at 126 for 1. WI are again playing catch up cricket and the only way they can manage a win is by taking wickets at regular interval.

Jermaine Blackwood defended Jason Holder’s decision to bat first on a damp wicket. He said that batsmen were guilty of not adapting and playing too many shots without settling at the crease.

“Normally at Sabina Park, the wicket is going to have a little bit in it for the pace bowlers for a couple hours. This track is different and has some grass so they will get assistance right through the match. It wasn’t a wrong decision to bat first but we just didn’t bat for a long period. I guess next time we will have to do that,” said Blackwood.

“We weren’t in any hurry to score runs. But you cannot just go there and keep losing wickets and not score runs. You have to go there with a positive mind set and any scoring opportunity that comes your way, you need to take it. So that’s what I did today,” he added.

Marlon Samuels and Jermaine Blackwood shared a partnership of 81 runs after WI were 7 for 3 at one stage. Samuels played the second fiddle and Blackwood took attack to the opposition. He hit seven fours and four sixes in his entertaining innings. Blackwood got out at the wrong time and the decision was 50-50. He scored his runs at a brisk pace and Windies look like they were competing in a match.

“It is always good to play in front of my home crowd. This is the second time I am playing for the West Indies in front of them. I was feeling confident but I was also a bit tentative at the start because you always want to make runs at your home ground,” he said. “So it was a good feeling getting some runs today and I was happy that I was able to help the team’s cause and get back in touch. And that is just normally how I play, ever since I started playing. So that’s my natural game. I try to score my first 20-25 runs quickly and tried to use the pace of the ball,” he added.

Ravichandran Ashwin’s 5-52, his second successive five-wicket haul on tour and his 18th overall in 34 Tests, and opener KL Rahul’s unbeaten 75 put India in a commanding position as they reached 126/1 at stumps on day one.

“This India attack is a world-class one and you have the No 1 Test bowler in Ashwin. He is very experienced and a very good bowler. The seamers are very consistent with their line and length, and they are bowling to a plan. So they are playing on our minds,” Blackwood said. “As batsmen we have to go and counter that, try to go against that plan, assess conditions and score runs at the same time. So this is a very tough challenge against a very good attack.

“Tomorrow we just need to worry about getting ten wickets. So the boys will go home and have a good night’s rest, come back fresh tomorrow morning and have a go at them as we try to build some pressure,” he said.

Blackwood also praised Samuels and said, “When I went out he was just giving me a lot of advice about staying positive and running well between the wickets, trying to score runs and wearing down the bowlers.

“As scoring chances came I played my shots. If I had come back after lunch it would have been a different ball game because Marlon and me had a nice partnership. For me to get out it set the team back and put the bowlers back on top. So I guess you have to learn from your mistakes.”

India are just 70 runs away from WI in the first innings. Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara would like to see off the morning session and then capitalise. R Ashwin took his 18th five for in just 34 matches.

Ishant Sharma also bowled well and the team is playing like a unit. India is bossing the game and would like to win at Sabina Park, Jamaica to go 2-0 up in the series.