PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):With another Test series already conceded, West Indies find themselves in the familiar position of attempting to salvage some pride when they face India in the fourth and final Test starting here today, with the spotlight falling squarely on the side’s chronically weak batting.
After the bright spark in the Sabina Park Test two weeks ago, West Indies returned to their woeful batting ways in the last Test, dismissed for 225 in the first innings and 108 in their second – their second lowest ever total against India.
Captain Jason Holder told a media conference yesterday that the team’s management was making concerted efforts to get more out of the batting, with the focus on converting starts into bigger scores.
“We’ve had some one-on-one meetings with the batsmen and the coach (Phil Simmons), just to try and find ways of enhancing our preparation for this fourth Test match,” Holder said.
“We’ve obviously been working very hard, no doubt. It’s just a situation when we get in the games, we’ve not been able to convert it. I think we need that concerted effort to fight a little better and a little longer, and whatever starts we get, we have to capitalise on them.”
He added: “It’s a situation where we haven’t been doing that badly in terms of getting starts, it’s just carrying on. It was good to see Darren Bravo getting some form in the last Test match, Marlon (Samuels) has been fighting – it’s just that conversion we’re asking for, for those two batsmen who are in the top four.
“Kraigg (Brathwaite) has had an up-and-down series as well. He’s gotten some starts, but has been unable to carry on. For me, in this Test match, it’s about them continuing to get starts, but actually taking a step further by converting them into some big scores.”
West Indies’ batting has struggled from the outset of the series. In the opening Test in Antigua, they failed to make 250 in either innings, in collapsing to an innings and 92-run defeat inside four days.
In the second Test, they slumped to a miserable 196 all out on the opening day after opting to bat first and it took a magnificent second innings effort – led by new boy Roston Chase with an unbeaten 137 – to reach 388 for six in their second innings as they batted the entire final day to save the game.
Chase has been the only one to reach triple figures, while Jermaine Blackwood got two half-centuries in the Jamaica Test. Brathwaite, Samuels, Holder and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich have all chipped in with fifties.
Overall, Holder said the hosts had made gradual improvement throughout the series and it was important they built on this in the final Test at Queen’s Park Oval.
“That’s just our aim. I said at the start of this series that we’re aiming for improvement, and I think we’ve shown significant improvement in this series. There’s just key moments in game which we let slip away.
“We’re just looking to keep learning and trying to put things right, especially in this last Test match to salvage some pride.”