COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CMC) — Experienced seamer Kemar Roach believes the bowling department will have to produce consistent performances if West Indies are to win their first series on Sri Lankan soil.
West Indies have played nine Tests here over the last 22 years without winning a single one, but are hoping to change their fortunes when they face the hosts in two Tests, starting in Galle next week.
“It takes getting 20 wickets to win a Test match [and] once we bowl well, I think we have some pretty decent batsmen that can get us over the line,” Roach said here yesterday.
“But we have to bowl well and get 20 wickets, that should be our main focus going into this series.”
He added: “Reverse swing will definitely be an option. Obviously the ball gets old very quickly down here, it doesn’t stay new for very long so you have to start shining on one side and obviously make that side work for you.
“If you can reverse swing the ball and bowl a fuller length, you should do pretty well in Sri Lanka.”
The last time West Indies were here five years ago, all three Tests finished in stalemates. However, the 27-year-old Roach emerged as leading wicket-taker for the Windies with 10 scalps at an average of 24.
He explained that consistency and bowling fuller lengths had been the key to his performances back then, and said he was now focusing on a repeat.
“That was a very good series for me. I was in good form and I was peaking at that time so obviously I got Man-of-the-Series. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of consistent bowling to obviously get results down here,” said Roach, who has taken 120 wickets from 32 Tests.
“When you get on the park you have to bowl with consistency. You have to bowl a fuller length because it’s an Asian country still so your length is very important and you have to be very patient and consistent.
“That’s what I was working on in the camp in Barbados and for the first couple sessions down here in Sri Lanka.”
The series represents Roach’s third tour of Sri Lanka and as a result, the right-armer said he was not daunted by the stifling humidity the squad had encountered in recent days.
“I’m getting used to the heat. I’ve been here a couple times and I know how it can be so I’m accustomed to it now and I’m trying to adapt because I’ll be here for a while.”
West Indies’ first assignment will be a three-day match against the Sri Lanka Cricket Board President’s XI starting Thursday at the Sinhalese Sports Club