Onus on West Indies spinners - Nash
Brendan Nash, the West Indies vice-captain, said taking early wickets was the key to West Indies' push for a win against Sri Lanka in the first Test at Galle. Nash scored 64 and shared a record fourth-wicket partnership of 167 with triple-century maker Chris Gayle to strengthen West Indies' position.
"We are on top at the moment, 500-plus ahead," Nash said. "Sri Lanka is used to scoring big runs so we have to be tight. We have a young bowling attack, experience-wise. On this sort of wicket with the batsmen to come, we have to be really on our game and stick to our game plan. Early wickets are the key and the spinners are going to play a big part as their spinners did. There's not much in it for the seam bowlers."
Nash said that it was a privilege batting with Gayle who went on to make a career-best 333. Gayle became the highest scoring West Indian batsman in the subcontinent and the fourth batsman in history to make two triple-hundreds. "Chris really summed it up quite well. He knew when to attack and when to pull back a little bit," Nash said. "That was maybe (because of) the way the wicket played, and they bowled very well in patches.
"We didn't have target in mind but I tried to keep him going. The conditions for him were changing. He's been out there from ball one and I tried to just keep him mentally going and physically tried to hold him up." Nash said the few targets West Indies had set for themselves they had met but expressed disappointment the way the last five wickets were lost.
Spinner Ajantha Mendis captured five wickets for 13 runs off 46 balls to trigger a West Indies collapse. He ended with six wickets for 169. "Mendis bowled very well. We sort of have to look at him and work out a bit of a game plan against him when the wickets breaking up a little bit and a bit drier.
"Probably the runs we would have liked a little more but Sri Lanka slowed the game down very well. Tactically they played very well. The amount of overs we batted were right because we wanted to keep the game moving forward and didn't want it to peter out to be a draw. That's why we set ourselves how many overs we wanted to bat and we wanted a few more runs admittedly but it was good in a way we batted to all our targets."