Resilient WIndies go down fighting

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — West Indies showed their fighting spirit on Wednesday but eventually went down to Australia on a thrilling final day in the first Digicel Test match.

The West Indies suffered a batting collapse in the second innings, which saw them dismissed for 148, setting Australia 192 for victory in two sessions. This led to a tense final phase of the match as the visitors eventually reached the target for seven wickets in fading light, at Kensington Oval.

Captain Darren Sammy said he was disappointed to lose a match which they dominated for the first three days, but praised his team for their fight on the final day as they made the Australians fight for every run.

“I told the guys at the end of the Test match to keep their heads up. We did a lot of good things. I remember the pre-match interview, both captains said one bad hour could turn around the game and that’s exactly what happened in this Test match. We dominated Australia for three and a half days and even today when we bowled, we made them fight for that 190,” Sammy said.

“Like we’ve shown throughout the One-Day and Twenty20 series, we believe now we can’t only compete but we can win games against good opposition. Even yesterday when we were five wickets down for 71 runs, we believed that had we gotten to 220 we would have declared as well and give them a target. We believed we could have won.”

On the gripping final day, off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine marked his return to international cricket with a career-best four-wicket haul as he bowled well into the rough patches at the northern end after tea. Then pacer Kemar Roach ended the innings of debutant Matthew Wade (18), caught at deep cover, and Michael Hussey (32), bowled with a ball that swung, to put jitters through Australia’s chase.

Sammy added: “There are no excuses for the way we went out in the second innings. It happened to us a few times last year where we bat really well in one innings and we don’t in the next and it’s something. We have to be more conscious of. Test cricket especially is two innings of batting and we have to formulate a way to bat well in both innings.

“It’s quite a few things that could cause that to happen. I think it’s just being mentally focussed after being out in the field for a long time to respect the start of your innings. They came in the second innings and bowled straighter at us, then we played a few loose strokes as well. It’s just about conditioning your mind to bat for your team the second time around and just repeating the job you did in the first innings.”

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 18:44