Shai Hope may have helped West Indies towards a respectable score and stretched their lead towards 200, but he also took “some responsibility” for the five wickets they lost in the last session of the fourth day in Bridgetown.
West Indies were 197 for 4 at tea, with a lead of 116 and Hope on 68, but lost five wickets for 26 runs. Legspinner Yasir Shah troubled their middle and lower order to end the day with 6 for 90.
“I do take some responsibility for it (the collapse) because you are a set batsman on that pitch so you need to stay as long as possible,” Hope said after the fourth day. “Having said that, we just need to go there and do what we need to do on day five.
“It’s going to be a very tough fifth day, I can tell you that … tight game but [given] the nature of the pitch, I would say that our bowlers have a better chance than their batters.”
Trailing 0-1 in the three-Test series, West Indies ended the day 183 ahead with only one wicket in hand, setting up an exciting last day. Apart from showing faith in the West Indies bowlers, Hope said extending their lead would be the first aim on the fifth morning.
“We have another wicket in hand, first things first, so whatever runs we can get will be crucial,” he said. “I do believe if you bowl in the right areas and keep them under pressure then it could be a Test match that we win.
“Yes, there’s a lot to play for. If we win this game, it’s going to open up the series so we’re just going to play hard cricket on day five.”
Hope was “not pleased” about missing out on his maiden Test century but he led West Indies from 41 for 2 past 200 by batting over five hours for his 90. He had half-century stands with Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase and Vishaul Singh. After making only 5, 6 and 2 in three previous innings in the series, Hope said the key this time was patience and a positive intent.
“[I took] a lot of confidence despite not getting the hundred but it was a tough pitch to bat on, especially the spinners were getting some turn off the rough. I can take a lot from the innings, unfortunately, I couldn’t carry on. I know that I’m good enough to play at this level so it’s just about staying patient and being positive in the middle.
“I would say [the difference this time was] trusting your process. I wouldn’t say I changed much in my game, it’s just about backing my ability and doing what I need to do in the middle and the runs would come. I was backing my defence, especially, and knowing that the longer I’d stay, the more runs would come.
“Anything they gave me to score runs, I pounced on. I just tried to put away those bad balls. As I said, it was a difficult pitch to bat on so anything loose you get, you need to put away.”
Playing his ninth Test, Hope had started as an opener two years ago but has started batting in the middle order too. He has been batting at No. 4 this series.
“Yes, there is a preference,” he said about his position in the line-up. “I’d prefer to be in the middle order but having said that, it’s about whatever the team needs. At that stage we needed an opener, I didn’t necessarily give the team what they required at that stage but yes, I’d prefer to bat in the middle.”