New Zealand v West Indies, 1st Test, Dunedin, 5th day December 7, 2013

Sammy relieved at avoiding India repeat


Darren Sammy feared he was enduring a repeat of the dreadful India tour midway through the first Test in Dunedin. He even joked that "not many people will have expected to be sat here at 6.30 pm on Saturday," as he reflected on what must go down as a great escape, even though rain played a vital role in the final session.

West Indies were welcomed to New Zealand with lowly expectations - hardly surprising given only two of their players had played here before and half the squad had barely two days to prepare - and Sammy had noted a few references to them being the worst West Indian side to visit the country. He did not offer the forceful response some may have made to that claim, he is more understated than that, but his satisfaction at how his side improved over the second half of the Test was clear.

The obvious example was Darren Bravo's 218, but because of contributions from Kirk Edwards, Narsingh Deonarine and the captain himself, West Indies managed their fourth highest second-innings total ever. Then Shane Shillingford, who is playing with uncertainty still surrounding his action as the report from testing is awaited, gave New Zealand's top order a scare by taking four wickets. Briefly, it was debatable which side wanted the rain more.

"We came from India, where we had a miserable Test series," Sammy said. "We came here, we had two-and-a-half days to prepare in conditions that three quarters of my side have not been in and it showed in the first two innings of the match.

"Winning the toss on a grassy top with a little bit of moisture, I don't think in the first couple of overs we put any ball in the six-metre line, we were all over the place and hence we were facing 600. Then our turn at the crease, I thought it was all India again."

When asked if the final outcome, after West Indies had batted 162.1 overs in their second innings, felt almost like a victory, Sammy said: "Yes, from the situation of being asked to follow-on with a deficit of 400, it was important that we occupy the crease for long periods and I bet on the third day nobody expected to be here at 6.30.

"Credit must go to Darren Bravo. It is a morale boost for the guys, especially coming from India. I heard some commentator say this is worst West Indies team coming to New Zealand. We knew it would be difficult, so we are quite happy with the result from position we were in in the first innings."

The draw meant Bravo's innings, which ended early on the final morning when he was bowled by a shooter from Trent Boult, was added to one of cricket's quirkier records: there are now seven double-hundreds made in follow-ons and none have come in a defeat.

"That was a real mature innings," Sammy said. "Somebody had to put their hand up for the team and one of the youngest guys did it. He models himself on his cousin, Brian [Lara]. I guess even the great Lara would have been proud of that innings. It was a match-saving innings and we are all happy for him. It will give us more confidence going into the second Test."

Sammy, meanwhile, was hopeful he would be able to play a full part in the Wellington Test despite his glute strain, which prevented him from bowling early on the second day. "I will look at it over next two days. I'll give it a go. I think with the combination of our squad it's important that I am able to bowl so I'll give it my best shot."

Kraigg Brathwaite, the opening batsman who had visa difficulties, is expected to arrive in Wellington on Monday, where he will link up with the squad although changes to West Indies' top order are unlikely.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Douglas on December 9, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Take a rest Sammy - call up Roach and Rampaul!

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2013, 1:27 GMT

    Sammy, meanwhile, was hopeful he would be able to play a full part in the Wellington Test despite his glute strain, which prevented him from bowling early on the second day. "I will look at it over next two days. I'll give it a go. I think with the combination of our squad it's important that I am able to bowl so I'll give it my best shot." Its unbelievable how some of us because we are so clouded by insularity we cannot understand English language in its simplest form. He never said he will play, he never said if he is not fit he wont sit the test out.

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    I certainly agree that Sammy should not play the next test. It would be best to rest and come back fit in another game

  • Muthuvel on December 7, 2013, 23:15 GMT

    North pole Ind SA series has just begun and Ind has lost one game by large margin but the chest thumping from Pak fans is just out of the world even SA fans are sober mate !,They are winning it from here.

  • pankaj on December 7, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    Say what you will.. He may have scored 80 odd... But Sammy is holding up a spot...

  • Dummy4 on December 7, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    Great captaincy by Sammy and amazing effort for his contribution to the match saving effort ..Those 54 runs he added after Darren departed were crucial and ultimate the difference. NZ will rue drawing this..It was their match to lose.

    Darren Bravo was just brilliant...One of the best fighting double hundreds in recent times...

    Sammy should not play the next match if he is not 100%....He should keep himself fit for the remaining matches.

  • Jay on December 7, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    India is on the verge of becoming new WI in SA.

  • harvey on December 7, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    I respect him and want him in my team leading, but what if he breaks down in the game, then what? His batting too will be affected as he will be unable to run 2s and 3s, I think he might also have gotten a hundred if fully fit. He was also our best bowler in my opinion, but risking playing in a few days after today's great escape, not too sure of that.

  • o on December 7, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    In the shadow of Bravo magnificence Sammy's gutsy 80 on one leg was a remarkable effort and shows how much fight this man has what an amazing result ! Edwards also looked class whist he was there the real worry for W.I though must be the experienced guys Samuels and Ramdin who both look like walking wickets. I had both Narine and Shillingford in my 11 before first Test and looking how NZ played spin here even without Shillingford bowling his doosra illustrates why this should be the tactic employed. Shillingford should also just bowl his doosra for me, if Ajmal and others are then why is he being singled out ? I say just bowl it. Next Tests will be interesting good series ahead.

  • Orlando on December 7, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    Why would Sammy want to try to play in the next test and why would he be allowed to with a hamstring injury (however slight)? It is that sort of amateurish nonsense masquerading as bravery that often puts WI in the mire. He should sit out the match unless a miracle happens and he is utterly healed. Let Ramdin captain the side. As ordinary as Cotterel appeared to be in India he has to be more of a threat than Sammy. Even Permaul who also looked very ordinary in India would be a more attacking option than Sammy who depends on one good ball in 60 plus hoping that the batsmen get bored or over confident. That is not good enough at this level. What other international team in the top 7 would be content with that? I happen to like Sammy a lot and wished desperately that he would be the all rounder that he is touted to be but he isn't and one good spell or innings every now and again is just not enough. He's been a good leader. Now he should do as Mandela did and not cling on to power.

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