West Indies v India, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 5th day July 2, 2011

Sammy satisfied after batsmen step up


Batting has been West Indies' major worry in the recent past, but an improved performance in Barbados that helped them save the second Test earned praise from their captain Darren Sammy. He admitted India - who perhaps would have chosen otherwise had Chris Gayle been playing - made a sporting declaration, perhaps keeping West Indies' fragility with the bat in mind, and that he was satisfied with the team's approach in their chase of 281 and the end result.

"We believed we had a chance of getting the target," Sammy said. "The coach outlined the stages, and by tea and with15 overs left, we were right on target. But we lost more wickets than we anticipated, and we don't have control over the weather. I think Ravi Rampaul has shown he is capable of batting for long periods. [Devendra] Bishoo as well. We never know what could have happened. I am happy that we ended with a draw and we could go to Dominica and try to level the series."

Four Tests into this season, West Indies' batting has looked frail, though there were positives in this Test. Marlon Samuels sparkled in the first innings and Darren Bravo gritted it out in the second. Samuels was fiercely focussed and Bravo promised to be the future. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the senior-most batsmen, batted for lengthy periods in both innings and Carlton Baugh, under pressure, showed excellent character in the second. Most of the pieces of the puzzle are slowly falling into place. A couple of tricky ones are not. Lendl Simmons hasn't looked convincing at the Test level and Ramnaresh Sarwan has continued to flounder.

"We could do much better, but at least we saw guys taking a little bit of responsibility and scoring some runs for us," Sammy said. "Samuels' innings was very good for us. He batted for a long time and had a long partnership with Shiv [Chanderpaul]. Bravo and Baugh did well in the second innings. We still have lot of room for improvement. We are not getting 300 runs on the board. If we can get runs, we can put pressure on India."

Baugh's unbeaten 46 under pressure would have warmed the cockles of West Indian hearts. It was he who increased the possibility of an unlikely victory. Bravo set it up with a very responsible knock, Chanderpaul helped it linger before his effort was cut short by an umpiring error and Baugh nearly brought it to fruition.

With regard to Chanderpaul's lbw, Sammy said: "With DRS system, these things could be avoided but that's been part of problem for long time. People will make mistakes. It's up to us."

When Baugh walked in after Chanderpaul's dismissal, the Kensington Oval was alive and buzzing. It was the best crowd of the series so far. Entry was free on the final day and by tea a fair number of people had come in. There was hope in the Caribbean air. "The way Carlton came out and batted was great. He was under pressure, and he and Bravo really steadied us. I have spoken about Bravo before. Since he made his Test debut in Sri Lanka, he has done very well. All sportsmen go through a bit of [a bad] patch. It showed his character, how he batted for team. He put us in a position where we could win or draw."

Before the Baugh-Bravo pairing got the crowd excited, West Indies batted in a measured fashion. After the openers and Sarwan had been dismissed, Chanderpaul and Bravo ensured there was no collapse. "We had a game plan. We just wanted to bat as long as possible," Sammy said. "Play normal cricket. We have batsmen who will score runs. We have boundary-hitters. So we knew that with 15 overs to go if we needed 90 runs or so with seven batsmen left, we could get to the target. Unfortunately, we lost a few wickets."

In the end, the rain helped extricate West Indies from a tricky position. Sammy was asked whether he felt West Indies can beat India. "Of course. We have to score more runs. We restrict them to low totals but they restrict us to even lower totals. Had we scored 350 in the first innings, we could have had a lead of 150 and it could have been a different ball game. We will beat India when we, as a batting unit, put up scores."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manesh on July 4, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    It was a game between India and WI...and I wonder from which hell Pakistan and England entered to it!!! As we know the current status of one team, we will know the status of the other soon...pls wait for it and comment. And who criticized India for just a draw, must be in fools paradise because they do not know that with 50-70 overs/day in a test match will not produce a result. And do not know that only 3 wickets were remaining.

  • STEVE on July 4, 2011, 2:10 GMT

    satisfy with a draw...no wonder we as west indies are at a new low..doni got a draw and said he was not happy....

  • Luke on July 4, 2011, 1:46 GMT

    @Deepkar; no WI never really had a chance to win but they are at least showing signs that they are on the up. Their batting has been by far the biggest problem and there is clearly still an issue at the top of the order without Gayle. Sarwan is all at sea too. Bravo is the key for mine. If he can produce consistent runs from number 5 he is a guy the team can bat around. I'm still unsure about the pace attack but they are performing above themselves. Sammy is really not a frontline bowler and would likely get found out on flat pitches. But, to his credit, he is holding his own helped by Rampaul. Edwards and Roach in the same side could make a huge difference I think and Bishoo will only get better. The future now looks far brighter for WI.

  • mahabesh on July 3, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    Windes are very lucky that the rain prevented them from getting a whitewash. I think its fair that Gayle is not playing since India is without Sachin, Sehwag, gambir, Zaheer etc. This goes to show that WI is extremely weak. WI simply needs to look for more talented and dedicated players. Our truely last talent was Lara. Where will we find a few like Curtly, Courtney, BCL ???? The future of WI looks very bleak at the moment. Its quite the opposite for India with young players like Praveen, Rohit, Ishant etc with alot of talent.

  • V.L on July 3, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    @Lloyd Philips Watch us beat England! I can understand your frustration and you are disappointed that you were beaten by our bench strength and you want India to lose to Englad, but it ain't gonna happen!

  • Gaurav on July 3, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    @kantipur-For your information Roach is there in the team , if they are not playing him its not our mistake ,Taylor is not better than Edwards or Rampaul so him being not there will not make any difference.Yes there is no Gayle, but then India is without their so many first choice players,while WI is just without Gayle .There are no ifs and buts in cricket, if Gibbs would have taken the catch of Steve Waugh in 1999 world cup semis ,SA would have been world champs,who knows, at the end only winning counts.About bragging no one is doing that , its just response to that Pakistani fan .About youngsters Laxman's average was just 28 in first 25 tests he played,4 years after his debut he played class innings against Aus where all other Indian batsman except Tendulkar were struggling, see what he has become after gaining experience.How can you predict that these youngsters will not become better with experience?

  • Deepak on July 3, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    Do u ppl think wi had chance to win? i dont think so. 98 required in 17 overs that is 102 balls not possible in test cricket even if it not wi and any other team in world even india it was impossible as balling team always have chance to set 7-2 field and ball outside off but india allways had chance to take 3 wickets In 10.4 overs even if wi was in indias place they had all chance to take 3 indian wickets in 10.4 overs. I THINK ANYONE WHO KNOWS TEST CRICKET WILL AGREE WITH ME.

  • Bidhan on July 3, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    I don't know why Indian team keep saying their second string side .If that is the case, 2nd string India beat 2nd string West indies in the first test. Drew this one. I don't think there is anything to brag about as far as india is concerned. West Indies were also without Gayle, Roach and Taylor.

    And india should thank daren sammy (who don't deserve to be in the team) in the first test for dropping dravid and saving india from embarrassment. By the way, in a years time may be India will be second string side anyway when Tendulkar, Dravid, laxman retires. Nothing much is coming from youngsters.

  • Zeeshan on July 3, 2011, 15:36 GMT

    @Ayaz Noor M: It's a fact that doesn't need acknowledgment. This Indian 2nd string team is about a billion miles ahead of the Pakistani team.

  • bismoy on July 3, 2011, 15:05 GMT

    @Ayaz Noor M comman everyone knows that currently if there is a series between pakistan and india....India will trash pakistan very badly...have u forgotten wc semis so quickly mate??

    Its not surprising that you praise a ordinary Pakistan side.But dont underestimate "india" WC winner in ODI and no1 side in test match....

    Its a second string with main player like (Sachin,shewag and zaheer not playing).

    if zaheer was there yesterday, WI would have bowled out before tea only.

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