Gibson: Windies still positive
Despite a tough period of play either side of lunch in which West Indies lost the firm grip they had on the first Digicel Test, the team remains positive and will be pushing hard for a favourable result on the final day today.
This was the message given by coach Ottis Gibson as he spoke following the fourth day’s play at Kensington Oval.
“You stay positive. The contest is a five-day contest and we dominated three days of the five-day contest,” he said.
“Yes, we had a bad day today [yesterday]. One bad day does not negate the three good days that we have had. We sort of continue to believe in what we have done for the first three days. We learn from today and of course . . . tomorrow [today] is still going to be a tough day.
“Tomorrow can swing either way. If we come and we get a good start and they don’t get that early wicket that they will be looking for, we can still . . . . Like I said, 200, 250 would be a tough score to chase on that wicket.”
Gibson played down the psychological effect Australia’s declaration may have had on the team, suggesting that on some level it was anticipated.
“ . . . We sort of toyed with the idea that they may do that,” he conceded.
“[Ben] Hilfenhaus came out and bowled a brilliant spell. Some tired legs, batsmen, didn’t move their feet properly and so on and he got a couple wickets but Narsingh Deonarine and [Darren] Bravo, that little 50-run partnership managed to settle everybody down. Tomorrow is going to be a very interesting day,” said Gibson.
Gibson said that the rigours of the lengthy morning session set the stage for the struggle that ensued, but he was equally quick to shower praise on the Aussie lower order batsmen for their effective resistance.
“You sort of plan for two and a half [hours] but with the extra half-hour the guys started to fade a little bit, which probably gave them [Australia] a few more runs than we wanted but, having said that, I thought their lower order played really well,” he added.
“Harris played a very good innings. I don’t think he got any chances. He played straight up and down the ground and when the ball was there to hit he hit it.
“Add to that, some tired-looking bowlers, but you expect those things when you are playing against Australia and it’s just been a tough day. All is not lost. We regroup tonight [last night], we come back tomorrow [today],” said Gibson.
Gibson admitted to being concerned about the team’s continued failure to remain strong over the full period of a Test match but noted it was a young team still in the midst of a learning process.
“That is something we have to be mindful of. Kraigg Brathwaite is 19, [Adrian] Barath is 22; it’s a very young team,” he pointed out. “It’s a developing team. We went to India and we were in similar situations and we didn’t learn.
“It would seem that we haven’t learned that lesson yet but we are learning it all the time. We are dominating top teams. Of course we are dominating two days or three days of a five-day contest and in Test cricket one bad hour, one bad session, can be the difference between winning and losing.
“Today we had, first of all, the partnership at the end with them and then that bad hour with Hilfenhaus bowling a really good spell, but we are still in there fighting and we are learning all the time.
“In terms of our development this is a good opportunity for us to learn. I think we have got the right people around to help the guys to develop,” said remarked.
Gibson said captain Darren Sammy who injured his back as he missed a step in his run-up trying to avoid a hole, is expected to be ready for action on the final day.
“He should be fine. Sammy is a war horse. For somebody that has gone through what he has gone through in the last 12 months and to come out and continue to give all the time is a tremendous thing for him and he’ll be looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and trying to, first of all, bat us to safety and then bowl us into contention again.”