Gibson ready for team to kick on
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The West Indies players gave Ottis Gibson an early birthday gift when they outplayed Zimbabwe to win the first Test at Kensington Oval inside three days earlier this week.
Gibson, who turned 44 on Saturday, praised his team for their big victory by nine wickets just after lunch on Thursday. It was the fifth consecutive win for Darren Sammy’s side – going back to August last year when they beat New Zealand in Antigua and Jamaica; and last November when they beat Bangladesh in Dhaka and Khulna.
The West Indies Head Coach said he was delighted with the bowling group but urged the batsmen to deliver in the second Test, which bowls off at Windsor Park in Dominica next Wednesday.
“Great job by the team! This win gives us a great deal of satisfaction. It was only three days, but it was three tough days of Test cricket. To come out on top is what we wanted. I don’t think everything went the way we wanted it to, but at the same time to win is a really good feeling. A win in international cricket is always a very good thing for any team, no matter who you are playing against. We will take this win and move on full of confidence,” Gibson said.
“One of our plans as a batting group is to try and bat 140 to 150 overs in an innings. We got bowled out in a day; that wasn’t the best for us. The surface wasn’t the best and the bastmen reported that it was difficult to trust the surface. We saw from the first day a few balls kept low; Chris Gayle got out to a ball that ‘took off’; and we saw the same thing with young Kieran Powell in the second innings, he too got one that ‘took off’ from a length.
Gibson added: “I thought our bowlers were exceptional, especially Shane Shillingford who got nine wickets for us. The seamers bowled excellently and Marlon got some wickets in the first innings as well. All in all we were happy and we will take this performance, but we know we still have a lot more to do as well.”
West Indies bowled out Zimbawe for 211 and 109 in the first Test. Off-spinner Shillingford was brilliant on his return to the team with nine wickets in the matches – including career-best 6-49 in the second innings to earn the Man-of-the-Match award.
Spin bowling proved decisive after Marlon Samuels took four first innings wickets while fast bowler Shannon Gabriel bowled with sustained pace to take three wickets in the second innings.
In the batting, Sammy made 73 off 69 balls to haul the team out of trouble at 151-6. He added 106 with wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin, who made a fighting 62. The resurgent Samuels scored a classy half-century to add to the career-best 4-13 in the first innings.
“We lost a couple wickets early, but the allrounder we selected, Sammy and Ramdin, did what they were supposed to do, which is stand up and get runs for us. We hope they will stand up and do it again in the second Test and more going forward. The bowlers were brilliant for us and we also expect them to do the same again in Dominica. It is all about people understanding their roles in the team and going out and feeling comfortable that they can do what is required in a situation,” Gibson outlined.
“The spin department [in West Indies] right now is strong. We now have four or five quality spinners to choose from. The fast bowling stock is also looking very good and we have a whole host of guys who can do the job now. There is competition for places and that’s a good sign for us going forward. Over the next three years we hope that we can build on this and make a case for breaking into the top five in Test cricket.”