Sri Lanka v West Indies, 1st Test, Galle, 4th day November 18, 2010

West Indies in the ascendancy - Gibson


West Indies coach Ottis Gibson has said his team is in the "ascendancy" in the first Test in Galle despite the Sri Lankan openers responding strongly after following on, and added that the tour was the beginning of a "stabilisation process" in West Indies cricket after almost 15 years of decline.

"There are some goals that we want to achieve. It's 15 years, some people say, that West Indies cricket has been in the doldrums," Gibson said after the fourth day's play. "I say we have not played well as we can play in those 15 years. I think it will take at least five years to get back to where we want to be but at the same time you have to start from somewhere. This is the start of a stabilisation process. You've got to stabilise before you move forward."

After piling on 580 in the first innings, with former captain Chris Gayle smashing 333, West Indies bowled out Sri Lanka for 378 and enforced the follow-on. Seamer Kemar Roach and offspinner Shane Shillingford shared seven wickets but the Sri Lankan openers, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Tharanga Pranavitana, responded strongly in the second innings, finishing the day on 89 without loss.

"We controlled the game and probably are still in the ascendancy at the moment. We are over 100 runs ahead and tomorrow we will come with the sort of attitude to have a go and see what happens," Gibson said. "If we get a couple of wickets early who knows what will happen. The guys have to believe that they can and still get something positive out of the game. We had a lot of positives but winning would be the ultimate."

Shillingford, with 4 for 123, grabbed his best returns in a Test innings so far and Gibson said his inclusion in the side, with Sulieman Benn set to return for the next Test, was a sign of changing times in West Indies cricket. "Most people in the world expect Caribbean cricket to have four fast bowlers because that's what our success as a nation was built on. The reality though is now in the Caribbean and around the world the wickets are a lot different to the way they used to be.

"We have the option now of playing two spinners whereas in the past you may never see two spinners playing in the same match for West Indies."

Gibson, who was formerly England's bowling coach, said the team had to gradually develop a winning habit. "I came to the West Indies with a plan of [developing a] a mindset of winning. I've always been a winner when I played cricket. I was a winner in a winning side of attitude and we have people in the team that share that sort of attitude.

"We got together during a camp in Barbados and spoke of what we can achieve from this tour and people are beginning to show a lot more belief in themselves. For the last 10-15 years or so West Indies struggled and when you get beat often it become a habit almost. Our players at the moment were just getting used to the fact that they weren't winning."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • James on November 19, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    One brilliant innings by Gayle and supporting acts from Roach, Shillingford and Barath may have papered over the cracks, but the fact is- several problems remain- especially in terms of looking after the players and selecting the right team. In terms of capability, Sammy doesnt deserve a place in the team- the team would have benefited much more through the inclusion of a Pollard or Dwayne Smith. Again, in terms of bowling resources, Russel is not yet there- though he may be ready for the big stage in an year or so- their attack would have been more complete with either Edwards or Taylor to partner Roach. Sarwan definitely deserves a place instead of Darren Bravo who is more of work in progress. Some batting resources seem to have been neglected or not nurtured properly- one doesnt know what became of the promise shown by Samuels, Xavier Marshall, etc.

  • Simon on November 19, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Similar thigs were said when the Windies beat South Africa at home in the first test a few years back. They were then beaten easily in the next two. I hope that the same thing doesn't happen this time, and I hope that Gibson is right. A strong Windies team is what world cricket needs in these times of trouble.

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2010, 3:37 GMT

    If gayle goes early in next match ,pressure will be back on other batsmen & they will struggle to score more than 300.@harsh_vardhan2002-you will pray for the rain when India going to loose against nz at Nagpur.And mind you lankans not lambs they are lions.

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2010, 1:53 GMT

    Well done Chris Gayle,that was the knock of a life time.What we'll need though, is for the rest of the Bats Men, to start making some real runs.If Gayle fails every body seem to panic.That's a problem.W I will need an early break through and continue to take steady wickets if they are to win this game.Sammy this your show ,set an attacking field and let's show the world we can do it.Gayle gave us something to cheer about but we certainly need more ..Let's do it

  • Darren on November 19, 2010, 1:49 GMT

    Agree with many others on this subject. If not for Gayle pulling off a great triple hundy what would the team have scored? Of course any team wtih a triple centurion is going to be in a dominant position............ I think WI have a quailty spinner in Benn as for the rest of the bowling attack its does not have enough penetration to make WI a dominant force. Keep dreaming Otis : o )

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2010, 1:08 GMT

    WI might have piled on a massive total during the test, but it still involved a collapse. they were 559/3 at one stage before getting to 'only' what they eventually got. WIndian resurgence is good for the sport since another team that dominated the last ten years is gradually fading away. we all hope WI are back to being their selves of 30yrs back, but one good innings is hardly reason for anybody to believe this is the start. they need to repeat it often.

  • Donald on November 19, 2010, 0:06 GMT

    Still waitng for the day to see Roach, Edwards and Taylor in top form wreaking havoc on teams, i think those 3 are the closest we've come in years to having any sort of fearsome pace attact. I hope the selectors recognise this and not wait till they've past their prime.

  • Thanesh on November 18, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    I am just wondering what people would be discussing, if Chris Gayle had scored a duck, with others scoring the same! "West Indies' woes continue","Sri Lanka, as usual dominate at home","Gibson:'We were trying our best; still Sri Lanka overplayed us'".............Its just a single player's performance on a single day which makes people talk as if they have masterminded this!!!!!!!!!Lets wait for the next few tests and then say, yeah we are really improved as a team,Mr.Gibson. Anyways, well played Chris Gayle!

  • PATRICK on November 18, 2010, 21:27 GMT

    I will ignore all negative, counterproductive comments from so called WI fans. C'mon Windies. We can still win this match. Focus and intent on the task at hand. Attacking bowling with attacking field placements - there is nothing to lose and all to gain. Sammy, rally the team and bring this one home!

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2010, 20:26 GMT

    Congratulation Chris Gayle! on your historic triple century and I wish Sammy and his men to press on and win this test match. It will bring back pride and joy to the caribbean Islands and its Diaspora

  • No featured comments at the moment.