Vaas stands tall to seal tight success
Mahela Jayawardene praised his bowlers as they wrapped up an historic first Test win in the West Indies with only 16 minutes remaining on the final day. Chaminda Vaas led the march with 5 for 61 as the hosts were dismissed 121 short of their unlikely target of 437.
"We had a challenge when we came and that was to win a Test match in the West Indies and we have achieved that," Jayawardene said. "We played hard and a lot of guys contributed. It was an amazing effort from Vaas and our quicks took 13 wickets in the Test, so a lot of credit to them. Murali bowled his heart out and overall it was a very good team effort."
Jayawardene felt his day-four declaration gave West Indies a hint of a chance and he was pleased when he saw aggression from the home batsmen. "We wanted them to play a few shots on this wicket because that's how we could have created opportunities," he said. "That's why we gave them a target they could have achieved, rather than giving them 500 when they would have been in a very defensive frame of mind."
The move eventually paid off, but the scenario became more difficult during the 134-run, second-wicket partnership between Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan. Bravo, who was promoted to open instead of Chris Gayle, scored 83 while Sarwan picked up a cautious 72 before becoming the fifth to fall.
"If they had batted till about tea it would have been a different story, we would have struggled," Jayawardene said. "We managed to get Bravo before lunch and then Sarwan before tea, which were two crucial wickets, and in between we got Shiv [Chanderpaul]."
Gayle entered at No. 6 and held firm, finishing with an unbeaten 51 and narrowly missing holding on for a draw. "Even though Chris was at one end, we knew we could put pressure on the other batsmen and see what would happen," Jayawardene said. "Our guys bowled really well to pick up those wickets. In the last hour it could have been anyone's game in the sense that they could have saved the game or we could have gotten the win. Once we got into that situation we knew we had to give everything."
With his side holding a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, Jayawardene said there was no chance of thinking about a draw in Port-of-Spain from April 3. "It's important that we go for a win in the second match as well, that's the way we play cricket," he said. "That's the attitude whether it is home or away."