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West Indies v England, 3rd Test, Antigua, 3rd day
Holding: Poor strokeplay cost West Indies
February 18, 2009
England are on top and another 180 runs will put serious pressure on West Indies
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Ramnaresh Sarwan's shot on 94 wasn't the best of shots and was symptomatic of West Indies' batting © AFP
Andrew McGlashan: Hello and welcome to Cricinfo Talk, I'm Andrew McGlashan and I am joined as usual by Michael Holding to discuss all the action so far in the third Test between England and West Indies here at the ARG.

Mikey, England have put themselves in a very strong position, bowling West Indies out and securing a huge lead on the third day.

Michael Holding: Yes England certainly have played good cricket. They are certainly on top in this Test and looking to go further ahead because they have a lead of about 280 before they started to bat. More than likely they'll put on another 170-180 runs and put serious pressure on West Indies. I think not enforcing the follow-on was the right tactic, especially given that Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison are not 100% fit. Give them the night off, a bit of time tomorrow and see if they'll be okay.

AMG: All the talk this morning on TV and in the press was about the ridge on the pitch from the Factory Road end but in the end it was offspinner Graeme Swann who picked up five wickets. Did you expect the seamers to do more damage?

MH: I expected the seamers to do quite a bit of damage, yes. But I think it is the new ball that has created all the problems with the seamers. Once the ball gets a bit soft, the seamers are not as effective. If the new ball doesn't do a lot of damage the batsmen have a chance. Swann bowled well, you can't take that away from him, but there was some injudicious strokeplay by West Indians. That shot which Devon Smith played is the kind of shot you'll find myself or other fast bowlers playing, not an opening batsman. A lot of the batsmen got themselves in and should have carried on. On a pitch like that unless you get a brute of a delivery, you should get runs.

AMG: Do you think England's quicks got a bit carried away trying to find that centre line on a back-of-a-length area?

MH: Possibly. I saw them in the morning practising it. Before the game they put down a few blue markers on a practice pitch and were trying to hit that spot. I don't really believe in that. You should bowl the length you normally bowl. If a ball hits there by chance then so be it. But you can't run up and aim for a six-inch wide spot. You have got to bowl normally and occasionally a ball will pitch there and misbehave.

AMG: You mentioned West Indies' batting. Ramnaresh Sarwan played well but played a loose shot to give it away at 94. That seemed to be symptomatic of West Indies' batting …

MH: Quite a few batsmen got in. Chris Gayle yesterday got into his 30s and then gave his wicket away. Sarwan, 94, and that wasn't the best of shots. Devon Smith has been in and out of the West Indies team. He got another opportunity on a flat pitch to show everyone that he belongs because he's a good player. But he gave his wicket away. A lot of these players need to realise that at the Test level it takes a bit longer to get your score than at first-class level. You bat an hour and a half and get 15-20 to your name, that doesn't mean you then think you have to score quickly to make up time. As long as you stay there the runs will come. Play each ball on merit and don't play those slogs. We didn't see the English batsmen playing shots like that.

AMG: There's been the odd suggestion West Indies were the more unhappy of the two teams to have to come back and play this game. Not entirely happy about conditions. Do you think that's played a part in how they have gone about things in this game so far?

MH: I don't think so. I don't think the West Indians were unhappy about playing this game. Obviously England wanted to play the match more than the West Indies did but these guys expected a Test match here in Antigua. Just the fact that it was moved from the Sir Vivian Richards ground to the ARG wouldn't have made them unhappy. They went out there just looking to play the game and they've been outplayed because of their approach with the bat.

AMG: Thank you Mikey for your views. We will hear from you at the end of this Test.

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