Windies Turn to Basics in Win Over Sri Lanka

Thu, Jun 14, '18


Windies vs SL

Windies’ dominant performance over Sri Lanka came to a conclusion over the weekend and with it a feeling of satisfaction across the Caribbean. With all the complaints about this Jason Holder led team, this victory was achieved by sticking to the basics of Test match cricket. The initiation of which, came on Day 1, when the West Indies finding themselves at 156-5 provided the opportunity for what they would go on to successfully accomplish countless times over the next four days—going back to basics.

Dinesh Chandimal and his charges looked in pole position to make his opposite number regret his decision at the toss when Shane Dowrich arrived at the crease. Fortunately, the wicket-keeper brought with him a portentous calm, which subsequently took the game away from the Sri Lankans. Dowrich’s stay at the crease for almost eight (8) hours, was made more valuable by the resulting significance of the four run-making partnerships in which he was involved. These partnerships produced a combined two hundred and eighty-one (281) runs. Although, the West Indian top-order performance was not eye-catching, it too produced useful partnerships. It was with a combination of the two that Windies accomplished what any team batting first must look to accomplish—batting one hundred and twenty (120) overs.

Invaluable too was Jason Holder’s strategic declaration, after Tea on Day two, which gave his seamers a go at the Sri Lankan top-order. But the strategy was only made relevant by a ‘West Indian’ spell of bowling, which resulted in the seamers snatching three wickets by the close of play to tighten their grip on the match. In addition, the comprehensive cleaning up of the Sri Lanka tail by Miguel Cummins, who had earlier in the innings struggled to find his rhythm. It was at this moment that the West Indies won the first Test of the three-match series —’bouncing’ Sri Lanka out for just 185. It was a bowling performance which added even more value to the terrific work done with the bat. ”

Fast-forward to Day Five, keeping in mind that this Holder-led team has only managed to take twenty wickets in a Test match four times on the previous twenty-one attempts. If there were any doubts overnight, they definitely began to surface when neither Kusal Mendis nor Lahiru Gamage showed any signs of discomfort at the wicket. Then, Gabriel produced a beauty of a delivery–and what a moment it was. The prized wicket of Mendis was made even more special by the thinking behind it; Gabriel began to bowl wide of the crease, inducing the uneven bounce of a five-day pitch. Three delivers later the opener was walking back to the pavilion and so too were the Sri Lankan hopes of pulling off the unthinkable. For the bowler–someone who has been accused of having “limited ability but bowling at pace”, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Trinidadian recognizing the danger of that partnership and reacting. It was a great pleasure to see the West Indies make good their decision to bat first, form partnerships, bat 120 overs, pick up wickets before the close of play (on both occasions), break partnerships, take twenty wickets and apply pressure in the field; the basics of what is required to be competitive over five days.