West Indies v India, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 4th day July 1, 2011

Gibson seeks a competitive chase

Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach, has said it is up to the hosts to force a result in the second Test, since India are ahead 1-0 in the series and hence may not chase a victory. India led by 240 runs with seven wickets remaining at the end of the fourth day, and though Gibson said West Indies would aim to bowl India out on the fifth day, he also had some hope that West Indies' frailties with the bat through the series may actually encourage India to make a daring declaration.

"We need to hope to bowl them out and see if there is a possibility of a run-chase," Gibson said. "The way we have batted, they might still think they can win the match and give us an opportunity.

"If they are generous, they might give us a target. It could be an interesting last day. We bowled them out for 200 in the first innings and couldn't get those runs in our innings. They might think they have enough. We tried to chase 300 in Jamaica and though we fell short by 63 runs we did well at the start of that chase. We've got to believe that our batsmen will come good at some point. If there is a chase tomorrow the batsmen might be spurred to perform."

The opener Lendl Simmons' performance has come in for criticism. In 13 innings since his Test debut in March 2009, Simmons has failed to score a half-century and averages 16.38. Ian Bishop, the former West Indies fast bowler and currently a commentator, said Simmons isn't Test material yet. Gibson, however, backed him. "He is one guy who works very hard at his cricket.

"You don't want to single out an individual in a batting order that is not performing. Everyone is encouraged to play their natural game. Simmons is an attacking batsman and has got the freedom to play that game and the liberty to smash his way through the new ball. He did that in Jamaica. We don't restrict him."

Gibson said Simmons was restraining himself against the new ball. "You've got to give credit to Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar for the way they've bowled with the new ball. Simmons needs to free himself up and have a go at it a bit more. It's difficult to single out Simmons. He has got good starts but hasn't gone on. It's the hallmark of our batsmen at the moment. They get starts but don't go on."

In a game marred by rain delays, the fourth day was largely unaffected with 83.2 overs being bowled. Though India consolidated their advantage, Gibson praised his bowlers for keeping the batsmen in check and defended the decision to opt against the second new ball when it was due.

"The plan the captain employed was the right one. We are behind the game at the moment. Every time we've taken the second new ball, in the Pakistan series and here, it's been with tired bowlers and the opposition have made quick runs against us. To not let them get away too far from us was a good job. They have to bat again tomorrow, which means we have taken some time out of the game."

For the umpteenth time, Gibson was asked why West Indies had left out Kemar Roach and, as ever, he defended the decision to go in with four bowlers and called on his batsmen to step up. "Our batsmen are not giving the bowlers enough time to rest. We have shown, with our four bowlers, we can be a potent attack. We bowled Pakistan and India out twice. We just need our batsmen to back them up.

"We have changed from being a team that never used to bowl out oppositions and lacked energy. We just need our batsmen to come good. Then we can be a competitive unit."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments