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May 26, 2008
Darren Sammy, the 24-year-old allrounder, was satisfied with the spirit and fight West Indies showed despite falling to a 95-run loss at Sabina Park. West Indies' hopes of chasing the 287 necessary for an upset victory were deflated when they were six wickets down before lunch, but Sammy and Denesh Ramdin added some respect with a 67-run stand.
The innings of Sammy (35) and Ramdin (36) threatened to trouble the Australians, but when Ramdin was removed by a sharp throw from Stuart MacGill and Sammy became Stuart Clark's fifth victim the end was near. "The plan was to bat as long as we could and me and Denesh believed that we could have gotten to the total," Sammy, who was playing his fourth Test, said. "It was unfortunate that Denesh got run out and I got out in the end."
West Indies dragged themselves back into the game on the third afternoon, when Australia slipped to 12 for 4, but the home team could not keep the pressure on during the final day. "We gave the Australians a fight right down to the wire," Sammy said. "We got ourselves into a winning position, but the guys think that this Test match has more positives than negatives."
Bowling Australia out twice was a high point, along with Shivnarine Chanderpaul's first-innings 118 and Fidel Edwards' eight wickets. "We showed fight, we showed spirit, and over the last two series we've showed improvement every game," Sammy said. "We won't start winning right away, but as long as we keep improving and show that we're competing against the top teams in the world that augurs well for the future of West Indies cricket."
The squad has been boosted for Friday's second Test in Antigua with the inclusion of Chris Gayle, the captain, who missed the opening game with a groin injury. Jerome Taylor was also named after a back problem prevented him from appearing at Sabina Park while Amit Jaggernauth, who made his debut, has been cut along with Ryan Hinds. At the conclusion of the opening Test Ramnaresh Sarwan said Gayle's fitness was at 75-80% while he judged Taylor to be at 90%.
John Dyson, the West Indies coach, said he hoped the team could improve in a couple of areas in Antigua. "Who knows, [Australia] might feel a bit more pressure," Dyson told AFP. "It might have been a bit of a wake-up to them, they haven't walked in here and just dominated the match and walked away within three days as I think a lot of people expected might happen.
"No-one likes losing. This performance has made them realise that the Australians are human - and not superhuman. They are just human and they can falter."
West Indies squad Chris Gayle (capt), Brenton Parchment, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo, Runako Morton, Devon Smith, Xavier Marshall, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Darren Sammy, Sulieman Benn, Fidel Edwards, Daren Powell, Jerome Taylor.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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