There were plenty of expectations from West Indies in the Sabina Park Test, especially since it was their legend Chris Gayle’s 100th Test. Unfortunately, it was a rather disappointing effort put up by the hosts in what was supposed to be a momentous Test. The loss came in four days, which is a clear indication of how poorly West Indies performed, and they wouldn’t have a lot of memorable things to look back at in Gayle’s 100th Test. If anything, it was an abject surrender, which will add to their growing list of clueless showings in the five-day game.
Batting was clearly the area in which West Indies let themselves down in a big way. Even before the series kicked off, it was clear that poor batting would be their weak link and, at Sabina Park, it got thoroughly exposed. They failed to cross 300 in either innings, succumbing for 262 in the first innings and crumbling for 216 in the second. It was the same old story for West Indies all over again. Shivnarine Chanderpaul held one end up, but did not find any support from the other end. As it has often happened in the past, he was left stranded in the end.
Chris Gayle did come up with a fighting half-century in the first innings of his 100th Test, but considering the lack of contributions from the rest, the team needed a much bigger effort from him in his special Test. Leave the two apart, and the top and middle order were completely blown away in both the innings. Opener Kieran Powell failed to provide Gayle with the desired support. He did get a start in the first innings, but cameos are of essence only in T20s. Powell has managed to retain his place in the team merely because of lack of options.
Similar is the case with Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo. Both had promising starts to their careers, but have failed to build on the same. The worrying aspect is that they are not rookies any longer, but have been around the international circuit for a few seasons, Bravo in particular, but haven’t taken the leap of consistency yet. Marlon Samuels registered ducks in both innings, but it will be too early to raise fingers at him in his second coming. With his experience, it might not be a bad idea to have him bat higher in the order.
The Sabina Park Test was a clear signal of the tough task that lies ahead for new Test skipper Denesh Ramdin. Of course, it would help if he converts his starts into bigger scores for one. If the skipper wants to look at the positives, their second innings bowling was definitely one. The match may have slipped out of their grasp by then, but reducing the Kiwis to 156 for 8 was surely a good effort, Jerome Taylor, in particular, making an impact. That said, their batting on day four was equally disastrous, and had it not been for Shane Shllingford’s dazzling half-century, they would have been staring at an even more embarrassing defeat at Kingston.
--By A Cricket Analyst