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April 24, 2011
Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, has said he was "surprised to see the pitch offer so much turn and bounce" after his team lost the first ODI against Pakistan at his home ground in St Lucia. West Indies had a poorly balanced attack for the surface, with only one specialist spinner in Devendra Bishoo, and they managed to take only two Pakistan wickets in 41.3 overs.
Sammy, however, focused on the failures of the West Indies batsmen to post a challenging total. They were restricted to 221 for 6 in 50 overs. "We put ourselves in a hole when we were batting, and the spinners were bowling, so we really have to come better in the next game," he said. "We may need to show more intent in our approach.
"We have a new batting coach, and he has been doing some good work, but we can't lose sight of us reaching 221 coming from our position in the middle of the innings, so hopefully we can improve on this next time."
Pakistan's spinners deprived the West Indian innings of momentum, with Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez bowling 30 overs for just 100 runs and picking up two wickets. Ajmal took 1 for 25 while Hafeez claimed 1 for 36. "I was very happy when West Indies won the toss and chose to bat because I thought the pitch would help our spinners," Afridi said. "I think our spinners have been doing a great job for us in the last few months, and they again set things up for us."
The one West Indian batsman who had a satisfactory match was Darren Bravo, who anchored the innings with 67 before he was run out in the 45th over. Bravo, however, consumed 109 balls for his runs and said after the game that he wanted to score faster.
"I wasn't as fluent as I would have liked. There was a lot of spin and I wasn't able to rotate the strike the way I'm accustomed," Bravo said. "I have to fix that. I have to put that right. I have to find a way to turn over the strike in the middle overs and keep the innings going.
"Earlier this year in Sri Lanka we faced a lot of spin as well and I was able to keep the scoreboard ticking. The Pakistan spinners bowled some good balls, but to be a great player you have to find a way to score off the good balls not just the bad balls."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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A collection of fine cricket writing on great cricket feats, and never mind the omissions
Plays of the Day from the first ODI between South Africa and India in Johannesburg