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West Indies vs England: Jermaine Blackwood plays down Ben Stokes clash

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est Indies vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood played down his coming-together with his English counterpart Ben Stokes – which required intervention from the umpires – during his second on the third day in Barbados.

Blackwood was out shortly before stumps to Dan Lawrence’s off-spin for 102, but played beautifully in partnership with skipper Kraigg Brathwaite to keep West Indies in the game. At the close, they are 288 for four, 219 behind England’s first innings.

When Blackwood had 82, he and Stokes, the bowler, exchanged words and were in close contact, which led to a long chat between the senior umpire Joel Wilson, Stokes and Joe Root, England’s captain.

Both Blackwood and Stokes – who has a history of getting into on-field arguments – walked away smiling, and the Jamaican was quick to play the issue down. He said Stokes “likes to come at me” in their previous meetings, and did so again.

“I love playing against Ben Stokes, it’s always good fun,” he said. “I love the battle, it pushes me even more when I’m batting.

“For a long time Ben Stokes has liked to come at me. Little bit of banter. I love it. I think that’s good for the cricket. I don’t have a problem with it, and it boosts my confidence as well, whenever I hear someone talking and coming at me, that even gets me on to stay more focused. I’m really glad he did that.

“No problem at all for me.”

Jeetan Patel, England’s spin-bowling coach, believes it is still possible for the tourists to push for victory on a flat surface.

“I still think so, everyone saw it was moving around at times, a bit of up and down bounce, a bit of spin, a bit of reverse,” he said. “I think there’s a huge opportunity to take this game forward. It wasn’t our day – full credit to them, they’re allowed to play well.

“I think it is going a little bit up and down. I wouldn’t say it’s spinning any more, but it is drying on top. It was a bit tacky first thing, maybe the overnight rain. Maybe it did a little bit more first thing. I still think two hot days there’s a lot to be had third session day five.”

Lawrence’s late wicket English spirits up, and Patel was impressed by England’s frontline spinner Jack Leach, who picked up one wicket.

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