Gabriel hails Shiv, welcomes debut

LONDON – West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel gave England little or no comfort either on or off the field after leading the West Indies attack in the first Test.

Gabriel marked his Test debut with the promising figures of three wickets for 60 runs from 21.3 overs, as England were bowled out for 398 to grab a 155-run, first innings lead on the third day at Lord’s on Saturday.

With Shivnarine Chanderpaul unbeaten on 34 and typically standing between the opposition and victory, Gabriel reminded his rivals how difficult it can be to dislodge the veteran West Indies left-hander.

“It’s very difficult to bowl at Shiv sometimes,” said Gabriel. “He plays the ball very late, and if you stray off line, he just clips you off the pads or pushes through covers.

“I was fortunate this year though. I played a domestic first-class game against Guyana and I got him out.”

Yet, Chanderpaul scored 80 in that match and occupied the crease for close to 4 ½ hours in the innings.

Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels shared 55 unbroken for the fifth wicket, steadying West Indies and helping them reach 120 for four at the close, and Gabriel was certain the pair would continue their acts of defiance.

“Shiv and Marlon are two experienced players,” he said. “Hopefully, they can come out [on Sunday] and bat as long as possible and put us into a better position, and I back the bowlers to do the job [in the second innings].”

Gabriel said his two years at the Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre had helped to prepare him for his Test debut, increasing his confidence in his own ability.

“I thought it was a good performance,” he said. “For the last two months, I have also been playing first-class cricket at home, so I knew that once I was given the opportunity to come here to play, I had every confidence in myself that I would have done well.

“I didn’t think I would have played, but unfortunately Ravi pulled out, so I had to step up to the plate and I just want to thank God for the opportunity to be able to come out and perform.”

He said: “Anyone playing their first Test at Lord’s would be nervous, but I tried not to think about it too much. I’ve worked hard for this opportunity, so I had every confidence in myself.

“It is always special to get your first Test wicket. I bowled on Friday and I did not get it. I went to back to the hotel thinking about when it was going to come – and I got some advice from teammates and they assured me that I just needed to be patient and it would come.”

Sat, 05/19/2012 - 19:05