Gibson admits to fatigue factor
Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach, has said that fatigue would have been a factor as the side's bid for a win was pushed to the fifth day by New Zealand's ninth-wicket pair of wicketkeeper BJ Watling and Mark Craig in Port-of-Spain.
With a first-innings lead of 239, West Indies had reduced New Zealand to 193 for 7 and were inching towards a possible innings victory before Watling and Craig frustrated them, batting for 27.3 overs to avert an innings defeat and take the game into the final day.
"More tired than anything else," Gibson said. "Everybody, throughout the day when they were called on, really put it in. It meant that at the back end, a little bit of fatigue started to set in and fatigue sometimes plays with the mind. But overall, the guys stayed strong for most of the day. A really good partnership was formed between Watling and Craig and we just have to ride that out.
"That's what Test cricket is all about. That's what I have been preaching for a long time. Curtly Ambrose has come in and he's saying the same thing. That's why it's called Test cricket. It tests your character, your fitness levels, your skills. The way Watling and Craig played this evening meant that we needed to be a little more skillful. The guys got a little bit tired, you could see that. But we come back tomorrow, hopefully the rain stays away and we get the job done."
West Indies' last victory against a top-eight side came in August 2012, also against New Zealand. They won that home Test series 2-0, with margins of nine wickets and five wickets respectively. Since then, however, they have only beaten Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, losing Tests on tours to India and New Zealand. Gibson admitted the young team did not have as many wins as they hoped for and was still learning.
"We are a developing side. You are seeing some new young faces, Kraigg Brathwaite coming in and getting a hundred," Gibson said. "You saw young Blackwood coming in and looking really exciting. We don't win as often as we'd like to and I guess that's the situation with the team. The teams at the bottom - ourselves and New Zealand - are in a similar situation and two teams battling to see who's overall better than the next. And we have to hopefully win this game tomorrow at some stage and then go to Barbados and see if we can win the series."
While the West Indies bowlers kept chipping away at the New Zealand line-up, Gibson admitted the pitch was unusual in that there was not as much spin on offer as expected.
"It's an unusual pitch for Trinidad. Normally, by the fourth day, you'd be getting a little bit more of spin, it'd probably go up and down a little bit," he said. "But credit to the groundsmen, they've produced a really good Test pitch. It had a little bit in it on the first day as the day progressed, and as the day has gone on, it's got a lot better and better for cricket."