So confident in his troops, bowling consultant Sir Curtly Ambrose believes that once his players transfer what they have learnt on tour so far, the West Indies can defeat Sri Lanka in the upcoming Test series which starts tomorrow at Galle. The legendary former speedster noted that preparations have been going really well ahead of the series — which will be played for the Sobers/Tissera trophy – in honour of Sir Garfield Sobers and Michael Tissera.
“Since we arrived here in Sri Lanka, the players have adjusted very well. They have been working hard and are training really well in these foreign conditions,” he said after the team’s training session yesterday.
“The key is to transfer that onto the field and have a positive impact. I’m quite confident once we apply ourselves we can do well and maybe win this Test match series.”
“Although the rain has been around and has affected the preparations a bit, the conditions are very hot and the players would have to adjust to that quickly.
“It is very, very, very hot, it is going to be important that the fast bowlers bowl short spells. The captain is going to have to manage his fast bowlers, he can’t give them seven and eight over spells here. He would have to give them three and four overs spells to that they give him 100 per cent.
“They will have to take in the fluids regularly and the hydration factor is going to be very important.”
Ambrose, whose last visit to Sri Lanka was 22 years ago added: “It will be critical for the bowlers to make the new ball count. The pitch is not quick but there is some grass on it and this could help the fast bowlers.
“What impressed me was the fact that the during practice today, when the guys saw the pitch they were practicing on, I did not have to tell them where to put the ball, they understood and this is very important. I think that we would be okay.”
Meanwhile all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite says West Indies will need to make adjustments and be disciplined in all areas, in order to win the two-Test series.
The 27-year-old said the bowling department needed to be consistent with their lengths while the batsmen needed to be prudent with their shot selection, the combination of which would place pressure on Sri Lanka.
“The pacers need to find the right lengths to bowl, whether they are using it in an attacking sense or they are using it as a defensive cog to allow the spinners to exert some pressure and get some wickets from their end,” said Brathwaite, who led West Indies A here last year.
“Batting wise, we need to be a lot more selective. What I found playing against Sri Lanka A is that the spinners play with their fields very well, so simple things like mid-on and mid-off hanging—normally in the Caribbean we have them really tight or back on the boundary — just little adjustments like that, knowing if to push and get a single or if to go over the top.
“A couple of our guys were caught at a three-quarter mid-on.”
Brathwaite is yet to play a Test but pressed the case for a call-up when he lashed an attacking 54 against Sri Lanka Cricket President’s XI, in a drawn three-day tour match which finished Sunday. A probing seamer, he is part of a youthful West Indies squad attempting to win the first ever Test by a Caribbean side on Sri Lankan soil.
Brathwaite, who has played four One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20s and has been in the selection frame for some time, said the discipline and cleverness of the spinners would be key to any West Indies win.
“Once we get those two things — the adjustments to the field and skilfully playing spin, getting off strike, knowing when to attack and knowing when to defend and the bowlers getting their lengths right, even the spinners bringing the batsmen on the front foot a lot more and forcing them to make more decisions more often than not — I think we will be successful.”
The first Test will be played at the Galle International Cricket Stadium tomorrow and the first ball is timed to be delivered at 11.50 pm T&T time,