England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, 5th day May 21, 2012

Sammy 'pleased' despite defeat

The West Indies captain was left to reflect on another Test defeat but one that offered signs of hope

At the end of it all Darren Sammy had to search mentally for the appropriate word to sum up his team's performance after the five-wicket defeat at Lord's? Does he go ahead and call it a minor victory considering West Indies started the final day with a chance? Or should he be modest and admit that they had not progressed much from the finishing point at the end of the home Test series against Australia? Sammy settled for "pleased" with a lot of room for improvement.

"We were quite pleased. We were told there were no fifth-day tickets printed. We took the game to the fifth day," Sammy said. "The team continued to show the never-say-die attitude which we promised to bring out here in England. And we had some good performances from some of the players. We'll take that these positives into the next Test."

The defeat was not unexpected, but what was definitely not expected was West Indies putting up such a determined show and making England work hard for the victory. Barring Shivnarine Chanderpaul, suggested the pre-series coverage, no other West Indies player could stand the stern test in England. Yet, some of them did: Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin and Adrian Barath with the bat and Kemar Roach with ball inspired confidence in team-mates with their contributions.

The downplaying of West Indies' chances before the series was nothing new for Sammy who said his team had become used to such a billing. "For the last ten years they have been saying that about us. We in the dressing room have our own confidence that once we go out and execute, if we bowl in a disciplined fashion, we create problems. We got the last seven wickets [in the first innings] for 130-odd runs. So we could do it. It is about doing it consistently enough. And when you are playing against the No.1 team you have to be at your best all the time."

They produced a strong fightback on the third morning when England lost their last seven wickets for 154. However, they were guilty of letting key moments slip away from them: a couple of examples of letting England off the hook were immediately after removing Alastair Cook on the second morning and then losing three wickets in suicidal fashion on the stroke of tea on the third day.

Another important turning point that could be added to the list of faults was Sammy losing his head in the final hour of play on Sunday when West Indies were steadily building a strong lead with Ramdin looking solid at the other end. Sammy had put some pressure back on England with an attacking innings before becoming Stuart Broad's 10th wicket of the match. He admitted his mistake and suggested the outcome could have been different had he not played impulsively.

"I think I let the team down in that department," he said. "I was striking the ball quite well when the field was spread. If I had batted for the rest of the evening it would definitely have been 250-plus. That could have been the difference."

Luckily, Roach made sure West Indies' spirit were not be dampened before they went to sleep on the penultimate evening by grabbing two key wickets and raising prospects of an unimaginable victory push. On the final morning, Sammy acknowledge, West Indies were excited. Their hopes rested on the four-pronged pace attack and when England were 57 for 4 West Indies' hearts started beating faster.

"I like watching these guys, standing at slips, running in and knowing that anytime an edge could come my way. Today it just felt right," Sammy said. He had pouched Jonathan Trott, the first wicket to fall in the morning, brilliantly to his left at second slip, when Trott was beaten by the movement from Roach.

However, Roach needed support Fidel Edwards did not turn up at Lord's. He started the morning with four wides and remained muted for the rest of the session. Shannon Gabriel, the debutant, once again built his rhythm, bowling purposefully on the off stump and managed to remove the dangerous Kevin Pietersen. But back spasms restricted him to only five overs.

"Our pacers have been doing a good job for us throughout the last year or two," Sammy said. "A few more wickets between Fidel and Roach could have been a different story."

Again, though, the problem for West Indies, despite all their fight, was a lack of runs especially in the first innings. The West Indies players need to start reading situations well and adapting quickly. A major talking point during this Test was whether Chanderpaul should bat higher to strengthen the fragile and inexperienced top order.

At the end of the day's play on Sunday, after he had made 91, Chanderpaul was blunt in his disagreement with such a suggestion. According to him young batsmen do not learn anything batting at No. 5 or 6 and to gain experience they need to play at the top which is something Sammy agreed with.

"Shiv is quite an experienced players so if he says something he has a lot of reasoning for saying it," he said. "He has done an excellent job for us at No. 5 and he continues to do that. I more want our batsmen to take a page out of his book instead of saying where should he bat. Right now what needs to happen is our batsmen have to stand up and bat, and set a platform so when he comes in he could play his game and we all can bat around him."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    The reason why Sammy said he is pleased in defeat is they achieved the goal of Gibson and Sammy of getting the game into the 5th day as suggested in there press conference when they arrived in England.

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    its say a chain is as strong as its weakest link as long as sammy is the captain w i team will make to no where can win u a game or two with the bat , the ball or with decision made on the field and other than being vocal on the field i don't see anything else anytime the wicb start treating the players as big men regardless of age things will be find and i guest now that sars has his piece to say i no he is band from w i team for good and all who see improvement in w i take away chanderpaul runs and time spends batting and samuels batting in the second innings the match could have finish in 3 days

  • Roland on May 23, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    The team is improving? Really? I think not. Without Shiv, the game would have been over in 3 days. The same Shiv that Gibson tried to get rid of.

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    I think Jerome Taylor and Darren Powell should be back, and WI should always always play Sunil Narine

    Also I would say that Sammy needs to be dropped from the test team.

    If Gibson likes him too much to drop him, I would suggest Sammy and Bharath to open . At least he will bring some value to the team if he holds one end up as an opener.

  • Len on May 23, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    The first test at Lords confirmed what most people knew already. Sammy cannot bat or bowl effectively at test level, the Powell, Edwards, Barath, Bravo and Samuels do not move their feet and wont score effective runs. The bowlers bowl either too short or too full and either get driven, cut or pulled with ease. Tino Best will not improve the side in fact he will be worse than Gabriel who I thought done fine.

    To people like Michael Holding and Michael Vaughan, stop having a go at Chandepaul, you both sound stupid! Concentrate on the attitude and technical abilities of the rest WHO ARE CONTINUALLY FAILING WHEN THE PRESSURE IS ON.

  • James on May 23, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    Some of the comments amaze me- when people like Roach, and Chanderpaul give their everything, some people give credit to Sammy (and even Gibson) for that. While cricket is a team game, it does require individual performances. If a guy like Gibson can be instrumental in keeping several decent players out of the team, his effect is definitely negative. And Sammy is definitely keeping one decent player out of the team- he can do a great service to his team by not playing in the next match, and allowing a spinner to play in his place.

  • Michael on May 23, 2012, 3:00 GMT

    Here's why people see positives in West Indies' defeats. There is not any dependence on one person. Think about it, its the same scores on the scoreboard but instead of a one man army, the young players are fighting to keep their places. If they continue to fight and a man such as Gayle should come in, then there would be a shift from competitive defeats to victories for the West Indies.

  • Dummy4 on May 22, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    Is this guy (Sammy) for real?he continuously sees' positives in defeat,this dude is a glutton for punishment.An embarrassment to WI cricket....he is....if you ask me.

  • Lucien on May 22, 2012, 16:56 GMT

    I think we should stop bashing Sammy. As far as i am concerned he has not impressed me as a player but neithrt have most of the other players with the exception of Chiv, Bravo and Roach. Sammy didnt pick himself, the selectors did. Those other players didnt pick themselves the selectors did. Realistically people there is nothing else Sammy can say after a defeat. If he said the obvious to whose benefit would it be? I know alot of ppl here and in the rest of the caribbean dislike Gayle and other sidelined senior players for whatever reason but we need to find ways of reforming, including and compensating these players in the interest of continuity. I know i will get opposition on this but in the region now what incentive is there for a young cricketer to aspire to? Wouldnt he be better of off trying track n field, basketball or football. Adminstrators of the game need to take stock of what is going on in the interest of the sistainability and longevity of the game in the region.

  • Ian on May 22, 2012, 16:54 GMT

    let's face it. sammy is NOT a penetrative bowler and should never be one of the four main bowlers. one of the reasons we have allowed strong positions to slip away is that we lacked the killer instinct bacuse of the limited bowling options. when your top two bowlers are tired you must be able to rely on strong support from two other very good bowlers...how on earth are we goin to attempt to get the upper hand by having sammy bowl?...if the management insists that he captains the side then let the wkpr (ramdin) bat at no.6, sammy at no.7 and then the four front line bowlers (from roach, rampaul, edwards, shillingford, gabriel...and narine of course....we have a few to choose from obviously)...to support this, given that the top 3 batsmen are failing (barath included), drop one and bring in a bowler!!!

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