West Indies’ captain Jason Holder has called on his team-mates, particularly the batsmen, to “look in the mirror” following their heaviest defeat against New Zealand in the first Test, by an innings and 134 runs.
West Indies were bowled out for 138 and 247 on a Seddon Park surface that saw New Zealand rack up 519 for 7 despite losing the toss and being sent in. The second innings was rescued from a collapse by a 155-run stand for the seventh wicket between Jermaine Blackwood (104) and Alzarri Joseph (86), but apart from them, no West Indies batsman crossed 30 across two innings.
The top five totalled 100 runs between them across two innings and Holder didn’t mince words at the post-match presentation, saying the top order needed to stand up.
“I think it’s time we start delivering and stopped talking,” Holder said. “We’ve talked a lot, we’ve promised a lot. I think it’s a matter for us to all look ourselves in the mirror and understand that we’ve got to fight a little harder. We’re just probably throwing the towel in too easily, just being honest. We’ve just got to turn it around and only we can do it. We’ve had brilliant support from this management and staff, they’ve put everything in place. It’s just for us to live up to it.
“Credit to Jermaine Blackwood and Alazarri Joseph to bring some respectability towards our batting, but quite frankly our top order just needs to stand up.”
One of the asks Holder had of his batsmen was to be prepared to shelve certain shots early in their innings, and sell their wickets more dearly.
“In all honesty, we’re still scratching our heads,” he said. “Leading up to the first Test, I felt the preparation was good. I think our preparation has always been really good. It’s just trying to send it out into the Test circuit. We had two solid warm-up games in Queenstown. Albeit the surfaces were a little bit different to what we’ve come up against here in Hamilton, but I still think a little bit more application needs to be shown, particularly up front. I think up front we’ve got to work a little bit harder.
“We’ve seen how the New Zealand bowlers, like any other bowlers in the world, they tend to get flat as partnerships build. We just need to be able to understand that, fight a lot harder, keep them out there a little bit longer. Even if we give up one or two scoring shots that we feel as though we can count on to pounce on early. The longer you spend (at the crease) the easier it becomes. There’s a lot of things we need to look at, we need answers and we need them quickly.”
West Indies will play their second and final Test of this series from December 11 in Wellington, but they are likely to be without two men who were part of their XI for the first Test. Kemar Roach is set to fly back to West Indies, having lost his father two days before the first Test started, while Shane Dowrich is a doubtful starter. Dowrich picked up a finger injury on the first day while keeping, and didn’t bat in either innings.
“Kemar, thankfully for us he pushed through this Test match but I think he’ll be going home after this to be with his family,” Holder said. “Shane, we’re not quite sure the extent of his finger injury at the moment. He’s been complaining of a lot of pain. Looking pretty doubtful for the second Test as well, but we’ve just got to assess for the next couple of days.”
With Dowrich absent on the second day, Shamarh Brooks took the gloves for West Indies. They have the uncapped 22-year-old Joshua Da Silva in the Test squad as the reserve wicketkeeper. A left-field option they could consider is Nicholas Pooran, who is also in New Zealand with the West Indies A side. Pooran made 46 and 35 in a four-day match against New Zealand A, while Da Silva kept wickets.