Captain hails Windies hero's 'massive heart'

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 14 Jul 2020

West Indies captain Jason Holder heaped praise on Shannon Gabriel after a four-wicket win in the first Test against England at Southampton.

Fast bowler Gabriel, 32, was man of the match for taking nine wickets for 137 runs as Test cricket came out of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Trinidad quick bowler was a travelling reserve after ankle surgery but he proved his fitness in warm-up games. He now has 142 wickets in 46 Tests at an average of under 30.

"What Shannon [did] is nothing surprising," Holder said. "He has a massive, massive heart and he wants success so badly ... To see him back out there fit and well and bowling fast is a pleasing sight."

All-rounder Holder himself took a Test-best six for 42 in England's first innings of 204.

For all Gabriel's heroics, the tourists still had to bat well after being set a target of 200 to win on Sunday's final day. They got there thanks largely to Jermaine Blackwood's 95.

England stand-in skipper Ben Stokes said he had no regrets for leaving out veteran paceman Stuart Broad and batting first in bowler-friendly conditions.

But he was looking forward to handing the reins over to regular captain Joe Root for the second of three Tests starting on Thursday in Manchester. Root missed the match after the birth of his second child.

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