Tour diary: Jamaican stay ends in disappointment
We have come to the end of our stay here in Jamaica and it has not been a very successful one to say the least. We had harboured high aspirations for a successful one day campaign but it has got off to a very bad start mainly due to the batting collapse in the first game and a poor last ten overs when bowling in the second.
In the first game we came back really well to restrict them to 237 after they had been 180 for 2 in the 46th over and a good wicket it was a very achievable target. We were going along very nicely with Carlisle and Goodwin putting on a very good partnership and were sitting on 116 for 2 when everything went awry and we were bundled out for 150. The reasons why and how to correct them are always sought in a post match post mortem and the decision was a slight team reshuffle with Johnson and myself missing out and Guy Whittall and Viljoen coming in.
Game 2 on Sunday was nearly a carbon copy of the 1st with the West Indies reaching 180 for 2 in the 40th over. However there was no comeback this time with the West Indies batsmen Hinds and Gayle taking full toll and scoring 100 runs in the last ten overs. 280 was always going to be a tough ask and when Ambrose and King bowled a superb opening spell and we were 23 for 2 after ten overs we were behind the black ball. Good half-centuries from Carlisle and Flower kept us in the hunt to a certain extent but it was always 30 or 40 runs too many and at the end we fell 40 runs shy.
Results aside, playing cricket here in Jamaica has ben a real spectacle. Thousands of passionate, noisy and very partisan fans have packed into Sabina Park to see good cricket and in particular a winning West Indies team. The organisers at Sabina Park have done a tremendous job and the cherry on the cake for them was on Sunday when it was disclosed that this had been the largest crowd recorded at Sabina. They are certainly the noisiest gallery i have ever played in front of.
Jamaica has not been all cricket and we have had the opportunity to do some shopping, go to the beach and also go to the statue of Bob Marley and have a bit of a photo shoot. My sole purchases have been necessities, a few bottles of Jamaican Rum and a Tam - a knitted Rastafarian hat with fake dreadlocks. I will see if there is a reggae CD at the airport to complete my list.
Antigua is our next stop for our match against Pakistan. The island is probably most famous, in cricketing terms, for its favourite son Sir Vivian Richards, and it is also where Brian Lara broke the Test batting record with 375 runs. More importantly we need to get something out of this tour and beating Pakistan will be the ideal way of doing it.