West Indies Cricket
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2019

Our batsmen need to ‘look at themselves seriously in the mirror’ – Holder

A target of 419, with well over a day’s play to go, was always going to be tricky for West Indies, but 100 all out in 26.5 overs was perhaps a notch or three lower than where the team wanted to be. Captain Jason Holder said their batsmen need to “look at themselves seriously in the mirror” after that display.

“Our batters did not come to the party,” Holder said after the game in North Sound, where Jasprit Bumrah’s “magic balls” hasted West Indies’ end as he finished with incredible figures of 8-4-7-5.

The magic on the day came in the form of the outswinger, a delivery Bumrah hadn’t used much in match play before this, and sent down with devastating effect, especially to Shai Hope and Holder. Both played the angle but the ball swung away to hit the off stump, while John Campbell and Darren Bravo, both left-hand batsmen, were bowled through the gate.

“Today he proved difficult [to negotiate]. He bowled some magic balls today and got quite a few of our batsmen with some very good balls,” Holder agreed.” Having said that, we have just got to find ways to negate him. He is a quality bowler yes, but definitely, solutions are there.

“He got the ball to swing quite late this evening as well. He was difficult. He bowled quite a few inswingers to me. It (the dismissal delivery) angled in and left me at the last moment, so I give him all credit for that one.

“Bumrah bowled an exceptional spell, Ishant [Sharma] was very supportive, as well as [Mohammed] Shami. Just one of those spells in Test cricket when the opposition gets on top and stays on top. We’ve seen it happen in so many occasions around the world. These things do happen in Test cricket, but it’s a matter of it not to happen very often.”

What did happen twice over two innings was a rather tame West Indian capitulation. The first time out was better – 222 – but, even then, the best individual score was Roston Chase’s 48 when each of the top-eight batsmen got into double-digits but couldn’t kick on. The second time was more abject, and might have been even worse but for an entertaining 50-run stand for the last wicket between Kemar Roach and Miguel Cummins.

“Our batters definitely did not come to the party in this game. We fell short [by] quite a few runs. I think the wicket has been a very good one [for batting]. The initial phase with the new ball was the hardest, as a batsman, you should fear, but after that it gets pretty easy,” Holder said. “It’s just a matter for us to dig a little deeper, we’ve got to fight hard initially upfront in our innings. Give ourselves a fair chance at succeeding.

“Looking back at this game, everyone who was successful really gave themselves a good chance upfront. Our bowlers have to look at two-three spells before they start to expand; it’s going to pretty much going to be similar in Jamaica [in the second Test].”

What’s the solution? Chase, after the first innings, had pointed to the openers not providing a platform for the middle-order batsmen and then the other batsmen giving their wickets away too easily. The sentiment was the same, but Holder went a bit deeper when asked the same question.

“We’ve been looking for solutions for a little while. Each batter’s just got to look at themselves seriously in the mirror, and we’ve just got to find solutions,” he said. “I think more often than not we have been gifting our wickets instead of letting the opposition work for the wickets. That’s one area we can definitely draw on, make the opposition work really hard for the wickets. If we go through the dismissals in this match, there were quite a few soft dismissals.”

Now it’s over to Sabina Park after a short “refresh and recuperate” period, and Holder, who defended the decision to field four fast bowlers – including himself – with just the lone spinner in Chase, hoped the team would use the break to lift themselves.

“[The defeat] definitely doesn’t dent my confidence personally, and the group I think should be out lifting themselves,” Holder said. “We have a lot to be disappointed about, we didn’t perform as well as we’d like, but there’s no point dropping our heads, that’s not the solution, in my opinion. We’ve got to find a way to bring ourselves back after this defeat and rally around one another.” (ESPNCricinfo)

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