West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin faced questions about his leadership after presiding over a second hefty defeat to Australia in as many matches, this time a 277-run mauling in three and a half days at Sabina Park.
Ramdin top-scored for the hosts but it was the most measly of achievements, an innings of 29 serving only to ensure the West Indies managed to limp past three figures after at one point looking capable of emulating their dismissal for 51 by Australia at Trinidad in 1999.
The abiding feeling was that the West Indies had slipped back into bad habits following the promise of a shared series against England, and plenty will wonder what effect Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s omission had on the dressing room, even if the 40-year-old’s supply of runs had dried up ahead of this encounter with Michael Clarke’s men. Certainly Ramdin looked wooden as a tactician, seldom reading the game in the optimal manner.
“There’s a few bowling changes maybe when you look back at it, players who got starts and didn’t carry on,” Ramdin said. “Myself, not standing up with the bat as well, being able to contribute down the order. Some of our senior batters didn’t get off as we wanted to. Each series we look for a century from one of our top five and we didn’t get that. We need to go back to the drawing board.
“They’re a good attack. They keep coming at us. We didn’t bat the amount of overs that we wanted to and they took all their chances. Everyone is disappointed. I think we didn’t bat as well as we wanted to, losing early wickets this morning. We had our plans to try to bat out the first hour and take into that afternoon session, bat out the day and return tomorrow, see how much we’d need. The Australians came at us all the time and they didn’t give us anything easy. That put us under some pressure.”
Never was Ramdin’s captaincy more open to question than when he looked to have under-bowled a venomous Jerome Taylor on day one of the match at his home ground. Taylor took two wickets and did not conceded a run before lunch, but was restricted to a five-over new-ball spell before coming back to bowl a solitary over just before the interval.
“When he bowled that long spell, when you look at our attack, you need to have him come back for a second spell,” Ramdin said. “That’s how it goes in cricket. Some guys need to step up. I don’t think Kemar Roach had the best of mornings that day. He came back on the second and third day. Other players just need to step up.”
To some degree Ramdin was hamstrung by having only four bowlers at his disposal, whereas Australia’s consistent desire to play an allrounder provides them with far greater versatility. Jason Holder stepped up to top the West Indies batting averages this series, a sign he may well be ready to bat at No. 6.
“The Caribbean gets very hot,” Ramdin said. “When you look at top teams they have an extra bowler in the top five in their batting lineup. That’s where we lack a fast bowler like a Watson or Ben Stokes or someone like that. Maybe if we can develop a player, our own player, like that, it’ll come in handy for us.
“Jerome Taylor was bowling well for us in the last two series against England and Australia and there’s only so much one guy can do. I just hope the other guys can learn from that and step up.”