South Africa v West Indies, 1st Test, Port Elizabeth, 4th day December 29, 2007

A team, after all

24



A team celebration for a real team performance © Getty Images
 

A Test series against South Africa brought no Christmas cheer to the Caribbean. There was no outward sign of any significant difference on the West Indies front, and they were facing a side only twice beaten in their previous encounters. True, there was a new captain in Chris Gayle and a new manager in Clive Lloyd, but that was not exactly new - they've both been there before - what was brand new was coach John Dyson and he still had not had any chance to gel with the team yet.

Lingering in memory was the trauma of the dreadful encounter on South African soil in the 1998 series - the horrid bouts of strikes, acrimony, broken words and the yet unfathomable whitewash. One could not forget Michael Holding reporting how he saw fear in the eyes of the West Indies players as they faced all their imaginary demons on the pitch.

So when Graeme Smith sent them in to bat on the first morning, depressing scenes came to mind, and it seemed unlikely there would be many rising at four on these seasonally chilly mornings to watch them being replayed.

It was my friend Sam who accosted me on my dawn walk to apprise me of the news that Gayle had batted well and Daren Ganga was holding on and looking solid. I turned back and went home to watch it unfold.

Something was being carefully constructed here. It wasn't just the patience of Marlon Samuels or Shivnarine Chanderpaul's meticulous century. One or two often make an appearance of it; no, something suggested that everyone had listened to the same lecture, read the same book and watched a movie together. Each member of the team seemed bound by the same rules of conduct, and was intent on contributing something to the outcome.

When they got to 408, scepticism predicted that South Africa would surpass that comfortably. But they didn't, and more intriguingly, never seemed to be comfortable with the bowling. They couldn't even avoid the follow-on, which Gayle chose not to enforce. The bowling this time was a pleasure to watch because it looked intelligent, focused and as tireless as Ntini.

And then came the second innings and Gayle, standing tall, dispatching the ball like so many pesky flies until he lost it at 29, and it seemed to set a different tone. The temperament of the second innings did not sustain the calm inspired by the first. Familiar doubts perched themselves on customary boughs stirring cauldrons of dread and hope, salted by sweat and tears of times gone by.

Could they not keep the pressure on? Were they relaxing their hold too early? Was it possible that they thought it was already a done deal? Despite the pleading tone of commentator Adriel Richards reassuring listeners that only six times in history had a side chasing that 350+ total achieved it, it was hard to feel confident of victory at stumps on day three. In two days anything could happen. And it did.

That the West Indies sent South Africa packing in less than a day, winning their first Test in nearly three years, was almost too much to believe. Most of the players on the team had never experienced a Test win before, and for them it must have been an extraordinary experience.

So what really made the difference? Was it the camaraderie inspired by Gayle that opened the door to team solidarity? Was he able to convince them that he knew what he was doing by his field decisions? Did the presence of Lloyd illuminate their role in this ongoing West Indian saga? Was it the impact of classroom sessions being folded into the training mix? Out of regard for the impact of a coach on a team, the Dyson factor cannot be assessed yet; but did the absence of the old coach contribute?

What was on display does not seem to be the effect of any one factor, and that is why it is more reassuring than any of the now-and-then victories that have casually visited over the last few years. It wasn't a one-man show, nor was it one-dimensional. Something came from every quadrant. This was actually a well-deserved victory, won by dint of having outplayed their opponent at every stage and in every department. It is one worth celebrating well so the team has a chance to savour success in the hope that they will develop an appetite for that too.

Vaneisa Baksh is a freelance journalist based in Trinidad

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ChamaraLK on January 1, 2008, 15:00 GMT

    Please don't misdirect people..Who said Lara's centuries are not match-winners.If somebody says that he's not a cricket follower for sure.In recent history WI cricket would have been demolished without him,when England tour West Indies they faced 5-0 white-wash for the first time in their history in their soil.Who saved it.Single-handedly!Before that match he was never in form,but for the sake of his team and cricket he scored 400* alone!Who else can do that.even with good team. Who can rip apart Murali and win a series(At home).He did it not only in windies in here Sri lanka.Do you forget his 213*,153 against Ausies.which saved them from losing and drew the series(for the last time).who saved them last time in SA.He was the highest scorer,These are just reflexes.I can say one thing if he didn't able to score those centuries,we can see no different between WI and Bangladesh.Thanks to those centuries WI had oxygen to breath on for 15 years,which could have been the end of WI Cricket.

  • calypsocharmer on December 31, 2007, 9:04 GMT

    it was wonderful to see the windies perform as a team and secure the historic win against the south africans....the young players seem to be gelling well. hope that they don't become complacent an maintain an intensity and purposefulness at all times in the field(both with bat and ball). they have to back themselves and their abilities constantly to ensure that they win this series and many more.....CHEERS

  • squaddy on December 31, 2007, 5:49 GMT

    Well what can we say about other than welcome come back to reality West Indies. Peolpe are for getting that the West Indies was once the best team in the world and in due time will reclaim that position. I must say well played Marlon Samuels who seems to be coming into his. Chris Gayle looks good as captin and the Indies are on a roll. Look out South Africa!!!

  • Nevisian on December 31, 2007, 4:42 GMT

    Every player is just here for a season. They make their contribution then move on. Therefore, we should move on beyond Lara and concentrate on the current crop of players. For me personally, I have always backed the WI. It is the C'bean team and I know no other. I'm just happy for the post- Christmas present they have brought us........Win or lose I'll be backing them, especially my classmate Morton.

  • windieslover on December 31, 2007, 1:19 GMT

    Finally, a throw back to the glory days. The days of old when our speed merchants laid low any opposition. Ah the viciousness of Edwards to get rid of Smith had me jumping off my sofa in jubilation. That is it boys, aggression mixed with smarts. Brian Lara is the greatest to ever wield a cricket bat but maybe like Moses he was not the one to take us (West Indies side)into the promise land.Stand tall Lara you were the Ultimate Entertainer. Christopher Henry Gayle the man from the land of wood and water I say well done to you and the warriors. I remain a died hard lover of west indies cricket. You bring joy to my bones.

  • Rumi on December 30, 2007, 21:54 GMT

    I agree with Shoeb_Texas. I know Lara made lot of centuries, and WI failed. (almost all occations). Only one occation ( 157 against Australia), he made WI won, to save his captaincy. WI lost many cases 5-0, or 3-0, he could bring no win for them, not even a draw.He always played for himself only. Only during his last captaincy he did play for the team. And that time WI started to be spirited. Check any of his previous teammates comment on him and you will find the truth. His 15 years and WI's worst 15 years have gone. Now WI become a normal team again.

  • Dexter1 on December 30, 2007, 21:48 GMT

    As a long-suffering West Indies supporter, I wish to add my congratulations to the boys for their fine win over South Africa. It has been said that the home side's arrogance was a significant factor in the result, but I would prefer to put it down to outstanding cricket by West Indies, save for losing six second-innings wickets for only 22 runs. The next Test in Cape Town will be massive and, whatever the result, as long as we witness a battling West Indies performance, I believe the team will have confirmed a step in the right direction. As for those quick to attribute the team's spirit to the departure of Brian Lara, I say get a life. What that man did for West Indies cricket, when it was very clear to all but one-eyed observers that the team was on the slide, is immeasurable. He brought joy, genius and entertainment in equal measure and left a legacy --- not to mention three world records. That is something for supposed fans to be proud of, not to take pot-shots at after he's gone.

  • kaisokid on December 30, 2007, 21:11 GMT

    I have always kept the faith. west indies cricket has fallen on rocky road and unless the sister countries band their heads together and select the best players for tours we can only be mediocre. hats off to our bouy and maybe we'll see Bryan lara back for a spell in the near future Bryan (calypsokid)

  • daveforsix on December 30, 2007, 17:27 GMT

    to all my fellow avid west indian fans i am today a proud west indian who has seen the end of the winning era after ambrose and walsh i saw the decline in west indian cricket alas one win how convincing has not changed my mind as to whether or not we have finally turned the perverbial corner, west indies is gifted with alo of talented players but we are kept divided by country politics and quite rightly shoeb_texas stated to many small minded people. the trip to south africa where jimmy adams was captain and he got his hands cut trying to stop a fight onboard the plane on south sfrica, is this a gelled team hence a 5-0 whitewash, we need to unite as one body and we are seeing glimpses of this. one thought for darren sammy he is on the team as the fourth bowler with bravo as the all rounder yet bravo gets the ball in front of him???? let each player earn his keep in the team. congrats goes out to chanderpaul who once again showed great character the only true unsung hero. congrats team!

  • angle on December 30, 2007, 15:58 GMT

    The West Indian community welcomes this over-dued test win by the Windies.One only waits patiently to see what happens for the rest of the tour to South Africa given the windies record of inconsistency.They have the momentum ,the way they played throughout the first test match suggest that they have a bit of fighting spirit and good camaraderie among themselves and if that is maintained throughout ,the windies would win the series comfortably and the west indian cricket stakeholders would be happy for that.

  • ChamaraLK on January 1, 2008, 15:00 GMT

    Please don't misdirect people..Who said Lara's centuries are not match-winners.If somebody says that he's not a cricket follower for sure.In recent history WI cricket would have been demolished without him,when England tour West Indies they faced 5-0 white-wash for the first time in their history in their soil.Who saved it.Single-handedly!Before that match he was never in form,but for the sake of his team and cricket he scored 400* alone!Who else can do that.even with good team. Who can rip apart Murali and win a series(At home).He did it not only in windies in here Sri lanka.Do you forget his 213*,153 against Ausies.which saved them from losing and drew the series(for the last time).who saved them last time in SA.He was the highest scorer,These are just reflexes.I can say one thing if he didn't able to score those centuries,we can see no different between WI and Bangladesh.Thanks to those centuries WI had oxygen to breath on for 15 years,which could have been the end of WI Cricket.

  • calypsocharmer on December 31, 2007, 9:04 GMT

    it was wonderful to see the windies perform as a team and secure the historic win against the south africans....the young players seem to be gelling well. hope that they don't become complacent an maintain an intensity and purposefulness at all times in the field(both with bat and ball). they have to back themselves and their abilities constantly to ensure that they win this series and many more.....CHEERS

  • squaddy on December 31, 2007, 5:49 GMT

    Well what can we say about other than welcome come back to reality West Indies. Peolpe are for getting that the West Indies was once the best team in the world and in due time will reclaim that position. I must say well played Marlon Samuels who seems to be coming into his. Chris Gayle looks good as captin and the Indies are on a roll. Look out South Africa!!!

  • Nevisian on December 31, 2007, 4:42 GMT

    Every player is just here for a season. They make their contribution then move on. Therefore, we should move on beyond Lara and concentrate on the current crop of players. For me personally, I have always backed the WI. It is the C'bean team and I know no other. I'm just happy for the post- Christmas present they have brought us........Win or lose I'll be backing them, especially my classmate Morton.

  • windieslover on December 31, 2007, 1:19 GMT

    Finally, a throw back to the glory days. The days of old when our speed merchants laid low any opposition. Ah the viciousness of Edwards to get rid of Smith had me jumping off my sofa in jubilation. That is it boys, aggression mixed with smarts. Brian Lara is the greatest to ever wield a cricket bat but maybe like Moses he was not the one to take us (West Indies side)into the promise land.Stand tall Lara you were the Ultimate Entertainer. Christopher Henry Gayle the man from the land of wood and water I say well done to you and the warriors. I remain a died hard lover of west indies cricket. You bring joy to my bones.

  • Rumi on December 30, 2007, 21:54 GMT

    I agree with Shoeb_Texas. I know Lara made lot of centuries, and WI failed. (almost all occations). Only one occation ( 157 against Australia), he made WI won, to save his captaincy. WI lost many cases 5-0, or 3-0, he could bring no win for them, not even a draw.He always played for himself only. Only during his last captaincy he did play for the team. And that time WI started to be spirited. Check any of his previous teammates comment on him and you will find the truth. His 15 years and WI's worst 15 years have gone. Now WI become a normal team again.

  • Dexter1 on December 30, 2007, 21:48 GMT

    As a long-suffering West Indies supporter, I wish to add my congratulations to the boys for their fine win over South Africa. It has been said that the home side's arrogance was a significant factor in the result, but I would prefer to put it down to outstanding cricket by West Indies, save for losing six second-innings wickets for only 22 runs. The next Test in Cape Town will be massive and, whatever the result, as long as we witness a battling West Indies performance, I believe the team will have confirmed a step in the right direction. As for those quick to attribute the team's spirit to the departure of Brian Lara, I say get a life. What that man did for West Indies cricket, when it was very clear to all but one-eyed observers that the team was on the slide, is immeasurable. He brought joy, genius and entertainment in equal measure and left a legacy --- not to mention three world records. That is something for supposed fans to be proud of, not to take pot-shots at after he's gone.

  • kaisokid on December 30, 2007, 21:11 GMT

    I have always kept the faith. west indies cricket has fallen on rocky road and unless the sister countries band their heads together and select the best players for tours we can only be mediocre. hats off to our bouy and maybe we'll see Bryan lara back for a spell in the near future Bryan (calypsokid)

  • daveforsix on December 30, 2007, 17:27 GMT

    to all my fellow avid west indian fans i am today a proud west indian who has seen the end of the winning era after ambrose and walsh i saw the decline in west indian cricket alas one win how convincing has not changed my mind as to whether or not we have finally turned the perverbial corner, west indies is gifted with alo of talented players but we are kept divided by country politics and quite rightly shoeb_texas stated to many small minded people. the trip to south africa where jimmy adams was captain and he got his hands cut trying to stop a fight onboard the plane on south sfrica, is this a gelled team hence a 5-0 whitewash, we need to unite as one body and we are seeing glimpses of this. one thought for darren sammy he is on the team as the fourth bowler with bravo as the all rounder yet bravo gets the ball in front of him???? let each player earn his keep in the team. congrats goes out to chanderpaul who once again showed great character the only true unsung hero. congrats team!

  • angle on December 30, 2007, 15:58 GMT

    The West Indian community welcomes this over-dued test win by the Windies.One only waits patiently to see what happens for the rest of the tour to South Africa given the windies record of inconsistency.They have the momentum ,the way they played throughout the first test match suggest that they have a bit of fighting spirit and good camaraderie among themselves and if that is maintained throughout ,the windies would win the series comfortably and the west indian cricket stakeholders would be happy for that.

  • Arthur on December 30, 2007, 15:49 GMT

    The West Indies'casual approach has always been of some cause of concern to their fans. Now they are currently 1-0 up against South Africa. That casual approach was evident in their second innings being bundled out for 160-odd. If their first innings revealed a new-found stickability, their second turn at the crease was in complete contrast. With that kind of advantage they had on the first innings - the second did not need injudicious shot-making. Chris Gayle the fantastic master-blaster that he is, I think as captain especially, should at times rein in his attacking flair. However, that said, many a Test batter under pressure to score at a higher run rate, seems to have dispensed with the shutting-up-shop approach. Anyway, I am cock-a-hoop over an achievement that has been a long-time coming. However, be warned: Expect an SA onslaught - and fans are once again chewing fingernails living in hope that their beloved WI don't flatter to deceive in the remaining Tests.

  • Hitesh_DeVilliers on December 30, 2007, 15:41 GMT

    This was a great win for the West Indies.Not only did they shock the South Africans but I think their own fans as well.It was a brilliant team performance where everyone contributed.Chanderpaul and the bowlers played their part.The West Indians will take a lot from this win going into Cape Town.But the South Africans will come back hard following this defeat and the West Indians will have to keep this intensity going if they are to have a positive outcome.But I loved watching AB DE VILLIERS bat.He was by far the best batsmen for the South Africans in either innings.He's in great form at the moment and he is the future of South African Cricket. GO AB!

  • samo on December 30, 2007, 15:04 GMT

    The win by the West Indians in Port elizabeth is very sweet and heartening for people like me who has been following West Indian cricket for a period of nearly 25 years. What is refreshing to see was the indomitable team spirit shown by the team under the leadership of Chris Gayle.Also, the naturally talented Marlon samuels did play to the potential after a very long time in his cricketing career.Shiv Chanderpaul as usual did his part very well. Also, the Carribeans played very well as a team after a very long time. The captain, players and the supportstaff deserve fullpraise for the efforts. Hope that this team spirit and unity may continue for the rest of the series and in future also. Right now, they can celebrate the victory and be aware of the fact that the South Africans can bounce back. Also, my small piece of advice to the captain that he may use spinners more against the South africans . I did not mean that the pacers did not bowl well. But against the proteas, spin will win.

  • sam_a on December 30, 2007, 14:57 GMT

    They were better in england without him? The minute WI wins a game in the post-Lara period all you Lara haters are gonna say that he was the reason they lost all the time. World cricket is not better without the great man.

  • asiba on December 30, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    yeah uh huh testing 1,3,4 this s my first post i believe windies won the game for all the reasons given i have also said that i believe windies would win regurlarly without lara: that they would play more as a team samuels running out of lara in that last game was a big statement

  • me_amirali on December 30, 2007, 13:00 GMT

    i dont think its the absense of lara...i think it was time windies realised their ever unfullfilled potential....it makes me so happy to see windies even give a fight...there hve been several occasions when windies sans lara could not perform at all they were like club sides....Lara on the other hand was a source of inspiration for them....as i see it...it was under him that they won the icc champions trophy(correct me if i m wrong).... it was just one of thoose very very few efforts by them which had alot of heart and hardwork, which was visable... just hope they continue to play well

  • Naru-12 on December 30, 2007, 12:57 GMT

    I have always supported (supporting) WIndies when it comes to cricket. I really enjoyed the victory and i am sure they will try to sustain this in the coming events.

    I am sure this would have proveked SAfricans a lot and they will be more aggressive in the next test, but we can notice the bowling lineup for WIndies is really good and becomming better. The current bowling they have is something similar though not exactly) to 80's and 90's when they had bowling champs of the world playing for WIndies.

    Their batting is also good, but Chris Gayle should be more patient in batting and if he going for a 100+, it is a sure victory for WI.

    I am sure the same attitude and aggressiveness will be carried for the next and further tours and i wish them many victories in future.

  • ChamaraLK on December 30, 2007, 12:27 GMT

    I don't agree on Shoeb_Texas comments completely.,Since you are a follower of Windies cricket you must have know that how many times Lara has been able to single-handedly help to won a match for them. By far he had the cricketing brain than other players,but the reason they didn't succeed in his period I would say is because the management,selectors & the past legends of Windies cricket. Whose involvements didn't help Lara,how many times they wanted to dismiss him. They never wanted to see Lara succeed and to see him become the greatest player West Indiest ever produced.. Only Lara knows the mental suffering he had through-out his career. I think he was the most unfortunate player of the game...with such talent he never had a good team to rely on and suppose if he had a decent team what he would have been achieved.

  • Thirucumaran on December 30, 2007, 12:26 GMT

    Well, I doubt that they will be able to keep the momentum and win the series, because Smith's men will come back hard (remember India 2006/2007?). But the most encouraging thing about this win was that, like Mr. Baksh mentions, they dominated every session. This was no fluke, they totally deserved this win against a full - strength Proteas side. The turning point must have been Kallis' dismissal for 0 in the first innings, which is a big feat.

    I, for one, may be a Sri Lankan, but have always been a big supporter of the West Indies team because they had SO much talent, something which not even SL has (the current team has 3 all - rounders, while SL has none). I have heard about Lara's bad influence on the team, but I find it hard to believe, considering that he's my fav batsman by a long distance. But, looks like West Indies now have the chance to express themselves without 2 foes,King & Lara.

    THANK YOU TO CHRIS GAYLE&CO. FOR THIS WONDERFUL NEW YEAR GIFT TO ALL US WI SUPPORTERS!

  • Paris_in_the_snow on December 30, 2007, 12:09 GMT

    Congratulations to WI/Chris Gayle! SA's efforts to win will be intensified and it will be interesting. This victorious team effort has a lot to do with leadership - particularly Gayle's, (slightly less) Lloyd's and (less so) Dyson's. In recent previous tests, they did not appear to think through challenging situations; but they were inspired this time. I do not believe that BC Lara almost single-handedly destroyed WI success - the reasons for us not being competitive recently in tests are endless. It appears Lara and Gayle have some similarities - both 'called out' the WI board; have a tremendous desire to win and a positive approach. I remember times when Lara's batting changed the complexion/outcome of games. But maybe personal excellence was a hindrance to communication with other players/team management. And hopefully/seemingly Gayle is better able to motivate and communicate with the team. He will need to be for us to overcome our numerous problems and sustain this success.

  • folklore on December 30, 2007, 11:45 GMT

    Congrats to the WINDIES on a great great win.. I am an ardent windies supporter and i feel they have done justice to their talents and potential. There is no quetsion that under CG they will play as a unit and it was there to see for everybody. I just hope that atleast now the WINDIES legends have some praise and good words for the team esp Michael Holding who seems to be thinking more negative than any other west indian aout his own team. The legends, just relax and enjoy your team doing well and support when they require help and not just sit in a commentary box and criticize and mock your our players.. Cheers to WINDIES win and way to go CG.. I am an indian and i proudly support the WINDIES in good and bad times..

  • Zimmerman on December 30, 2007, 8:36 GMT

    I dont expect that west indies will start winning test matches in abundance all of a sudden. I just hope that they keep the level of intensity and passion that they showed in the first test match. Chanderpaul and most of the bowlers have been doing their job tirelessly for the last 3-4 years. Its the fielding which has to improve and get consistent. Also, players like Morton, Samuels and Ganga has to understand that the roles they have to play in different situations will vary and learn to cope with it. I am impressed by the efforts of Sammy. Bravo's effort and brilliance don't surprise me any more. He can rejuvenate the team with bowling, batting or fielding. Ramdin has turned out to be a decent enough keeper-batsman. So, after a really long time, i can say that this current windies team is a 'Complete' and 'All-round' team on which we can restore our faith on again.

  • Karnog on December 30, 2007, 5:54 GMT

    They've definetly gained a psychological momentum over the South African batsman after the 20twenty match. These next few days are important as the windies should not become complacent as i can assure you South Africa are burning and training to come back. The Windies should stay focused and if they can do that then i can definetly say that they can maintain momentum and perhaps make winning a habit.

  • Shoeb_Texas on December 30, 2007, 5:31 GMT

    It is not presence of Loyed, or new coach or new captain. It is the absense of somebody which bring the team spirit. We all know when W. Indies started to play bad. Also we know occasionally they played good. Remember their tour to India, under Hooper. They just started to play well. Samuels,Gayle and Hinds got new life, that time somebody was absent too. When that person came back, same team started to play again badly. Think who destroyed R.Richardson, Carl Hooper (J. Adams too? ) and who did not like any other star in the team. Yes It is Lara, my favourite player (by far). But I knew from long time that WI Indies will become a good team only after Lara's retirement. In Cricinfo Blog ( Pak Spin- Kamran Abbasi)"My head says Pakistan, my heart says Lara"-- on Dec 15 2006. I posted a comment , where I wrote "...Soon After his retirement WI will become a much better team. Lara is a great batsman, not a good player at all. I want him to score some more centuries and retire.

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  • Shoeb_Texas on December 30, 2007, 5:31 GMT

    It is not presence of Loyed, or new coach or new captain. It is the absense of somebody which bring the team spirit. We all know when W. Indies started to play bad. Also we know occasionally they played good. Remember their tour to India, under Hooper. They just started to play well. Samuels,Gayle and Hinds got new life, that time somebody was absent too. When that person came back, same team started to play again badly. Think who destroyed R.Richardson, Carl Hooper (J. Adams too? ) and who did not like any other star in the team. Yes It is Lara, my favourite player (by far). But I knew from long time that WI Indies will become a good team only after Lara's retirement. In Cricinfo Blog ( Pak Spin- Kamran Abbasi)"My head says Pakistan, my heart says Lara"-- on Dec 15 2006. I posted a comment , where I wrote "...Soon After his retirement WI will become a much better team. Lara is a great batsman, not a good player at all. I want him to score some more centuries and retire.

  • Karnog on December 30, 2007, 5:54 GMT

    They've definetly gained a psychological momentum over the South African batsman after the 20twenty match. These next few days are important as the windies should not become complacent as i can assure you South Africa are burning and training to come back. The Windies should stay focused and if they can do that then i can definetly say that they can maintain momentum and perhaps make winning a habit.

  • Zimmerman on December 30, 2007, 8:36 GMT

    I dont expect that west indies will start winning test matches in abundance all of a sudden. I just hope that they keep the level of intensity and passion that they showed in the first test match. Chanderpaul and most of the bowlers have been doing their job tirelessly for the last 3-4 years. Its the fielding which has to improve and get consistent. Also, players like Morton, Samuels and Ganga has to understand that the roles they have to play in different situations will vary and learn to cope with it. I am impressed by the efforts of Sammy. Bravo's effort and brilliance don't surprise me any more. He can rejuvenate the team with bowling, batting or fielding. Ramdin has turned out to be a decent enough keeper-batsman. So, after a really long time, i can say that this current windies team is a 'Complete' and 'All-round' team on which we can restore our faith on again.

  • folklore on December 30, 2007, 11:45 GMT

    Congrats to the WINDIES on a great great win.. I am an ardent windies supporter and i feel they have done justice to their talents and potential. There is no quetsion that under CG they will play as a unit and it was there to see for everybody. I just hope that atleast now the WINDIES legends have some praise and good words for the team esp Michael Holding who seems to be thinking more negative than any other west indian aout his own team. The legends, just relax and enjoy your team doing well and support when they require help and not just sit in a commentary box and criticize and mock your our players.. Cheers to WINDIES win and way to go CG.. I am an indian and i proudly support the WINDIES in good and bad times..

  • Paris_in_the_snow on December 30, 2007, 12:09 GMT

    Congratulations to WI/Chris Gayle! SA's efforts to win will be intensified and it will be interesting. This victorious team effort has a lot to do with leadership - particularly Gayle's, (slightly less) Lloyd's and (less so) Dyson's. In recent previous tests, they did not appear to think through challenging situations; but they were inspired this time. I do not believe that BC Lara almost single-handedly destroyed WI success - the reasons for us not being competitive recently in tests are endless. It appears Lara and Gayle have some similarities - both 'called out' the WI board; have a tremendous desire to win and a positive approach. I remember times when Lara's batting changed the complexion/outcome of games. But maybe personal excellence was a hindrance to communication with other players/team management. And hopefully/seemingly Gayle is better able to motivate and communicate with the team. He will need to be for us to overcome our numerous problems and sustain this success.

  • Thirucumaran on December 30, 2007, 12:26 GMT

    Well, I doubt that they will be able to keep the momentum and win the series, because Smith's men will come back hard (remember India 2006/2007?). But the most encouraging thing about this win was that, like Mr. Baksh mentions, they dominated every session. This was no fluke, they totally deserved this win against a full - strength Proteas side. The turning point must have been Kallis' dismissal for 0 in the first innings, which is a big feat.

    I, for one, may be a Sri Lankan, but have always been a big supporter of the West Indies team because they had SO much talent, something which not even SL has (the current team has 3 all - rounders, while SL has none). I have heard about Lara's bad influence on the team, but I find it hard to believe, considering that he's my fav batsman by a long distance. But, looks like West Indies now have the chance to express themselves without 2 foes,King & Lara.

    THANK YOU TO CHRIS GAYLE&CO. FOR THIS WONDERFUL NEW YEAR GIFT TO ALL US WI SUPPORTERS!

  • ChamaraLK on December 30, 2007, 12:27 GMT

    I don't agree on Shoeb_Texas comments completely.,Since you are a follower of Windies cricket you must have know that how many times Lara has been able to single-handedly help to won a match for them. By far he had the cricketing brain than other players,but the reason they didn't succeed in his period I would say is because the management,selectors & the past legends of Windies cricket. Whose involvements didn't help Lara,how many times they wanted to dismiss him. They never wanted to see Lara succeed and to see him become the greatest player West Indiest ever produced.. Only Lara knows the mental suffering he had through-out his career. I think he was the most unfortunate player of the game...with such talent he never had a good team to rely on and suppose if he had a decent team what he would have been achieved.

  • Naru-12 on December 30, 2007, 12:57 GMT

    I have always supported (supporting) WIndies when it comes to cricket. I really enjoyed the victory and i am sure they will try to sustain this in the coming events.

    I am sure this would have proveked SAfricans a lot and they will be more aggressive in the next test, but we can notice the bowling lineup for WIndies is really good and becomming better. The current bowling they have is something similar though not exactly) to 80's and 90's when they had bowling champs of the world playing for WIndies.

    Their batting is also good, but Chris Gayle should be more patient in batting and if he going for a 100+, it is a sure victory for WI.

    I am sure the same attitude and aggressiveness will be carried for the next and further tours and i wish them many victories in future.

  • me_amirali on December 30, 2007, 13:00 GMT

    i dont think its the absense of lara...i think it was time windies realised their ever unfullfilled potential....it makes me so happy to see windies even give a fight...there hve been several occasions when windies sans lara could not perform at all they were like club sides....Lara on the other hand was a source of inspiration for them....as i see it...it was under him that they won the icc champions trophy(correct me if i m wrong).... it was just one of thoose very very few efforts by them which had alot of heart and hardwork, which was visable... just hope they continue to play well

  • asiba on December 30, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    yeah uh huh testing 1,3,4 this s my first post i believe windies won the game for all the reasons given i have also said that i believe windies would win regurlarly without lara: that they would play more as a team samuels running out of lara in that last game was a big statement