GALLE—A bruised and battered West Indies travelled to Colombo yesterday to begin preparation for the second and final Test against Sri Lanka which bowls off on Thursday at the P Sara Oval. The Caribbean side was given a battering in the opening Test, going down by an innings and six runs inside four days on Saturday, to fall behind in the two-Test series.
West Indies will have only a short turn-around time in between matches as they seek to make tweaks to the disappointing performance which saw them extend their unenviable record of having never won a Test on Sri Lankan soil.
At the heart of the West Indies woes was their brittle batting. Responding to Sri Lanka’s massive first innings total of 484 all out, the tourists twice suffered batting collapses to crash for 251 in their first innings and then 227 in their second innings, following-on. New captain Jason Holder said his side would need to improve in this area of they are to compete in Colombo.
“We just need to apply ourselves a bit more with the bat and hopefully put some runs [on the board] in the second Test,” Holder pointed out. West Indies were ripped apart by left-arm spinner Rangana Herath who picked up six for 68 in the first innings and returned to take four for 79 in the second, for his fifth ten-wicket match haul in Tests.
Holder explained that another crucial aspect to the upcoming Test would be the Windies batsmen improving their approach to Herath. “I think we need to be a little more patient when we’re batting him, and just be a little more positive and decisive. Once we do that in the second Test, we will be a lot better off,” the 23-year-old noted.
He also pointed to the fielding, which proved a let-down. West Indies floored four catches during the Sri Lanka innings with Dinesh Chandimal, who struck 151, getting two lives. Holder stressed this was a key part of their game which needed to be addressed.
“I think we’ve got to hold our chances. Again, I go back to that [Sri Lanka] first innings—once we hold our chances, the scorecard could [have looked] a lot different,” he contended.
“Having said that, Herath bowled well and got ten wickets…and I thought their fast bowlers supported well. If we can take a leaf from their book, just probably be a big more disciplined as we were in the first innings and then hold our chances, that will be the key going forward.”