Kemar Roach's almost hat-trick. Jason Holder's five-for. Roston Chase's four wickets in 38 overs. A flicker of momentum, a glimmer of excellence here and there. That's all West Indies had to show over the last month, in the all-format series against India, as they suffered 3-0 and 2-0 defeats in the T20Is and ODIs, and their first Test series loss at home in two years - 2-0.
It's easy to lose hope in the face of results like these, but captain Jason Holder seemed generally positive after the Jamaica Test, focusing on the brighter moments - particularly from the bowlers - in the series. He spoke, for instance, on how he drew motivation from Roach.
"I just said to him in the dressing room that he is one of my motivating factors," he said. "To see the effort he comes and gives, it really pushes me. I know Shannon [Gabriel] went off in this game and we had Miguel Cummins go off in the last game. It wasn't the ideal situation for us fast bowlers. We have been on the field every single day except this day in this series.
"It's been a situation where there's a heavy weight on the fast bowlers, but every single time we call on Kemar, every single time we call on Shannon, they have never said no. For me, that's motivation enough. I really probably wouldn't have liked to bowl so many overs, you know, but that's just how the game has gone and somebody has to bowl the overs, a situation where we had to put our heads together as a bowling unit and get the job done."
We are not really spoilt for choice in terms of batsmen coming through the region. We have got to put things in place to make sure we keep developing players, make sure players are doing the right thing to be successful at this level
While the bowling unit has succeeded with moderate consistency, Holder felt that structural changes were required to fix the massive gap between the levels of West Indies' domestic cricket and international cricket, particularly in the batting department.
"I don't think it's a quick fix, you know," he said. "I think it's a situation in the Caribbean, we are not really spoilt for choice in terms of batsmen coming through the region. We have got to put things in place to make sure we keep developing players, make sure players are doing the right thing to be successful at this level.
"There is still a lot more emphasis to be put on franchise level and first-class cricket, and that's where we are going to build players, you know. They've got experience and scenario-based experience, and when they come on to [play] Test cricket, it becomes a little bit easier."
Holder lauded debutant offspinner Rahkeem Cornwall's consistency, and his ability to bowl and wear opponents down in long spells.
"Rahkeem did a fairly reasonable job for us, held things together nicely on one end. It allowed our seamers to express themselves at the other end. And our seamers have done the bulk of damage for us in the last three years," Holder said. "Rahkeem came and did a nice job. He didn't get the wickets he was looking for, but I think his job was well done. Even with the batting, he showed some promise."
Holder was also impressed with the way Jermaine Blackwood adapted to being called up as a concussion substitute on the fourth day in Jamaica. Blackwood, who was not part of the Test squad but is from Jamaica, was drafted into the XI after Darren Bravo was ruled out due to a concussion on the fourth morning. Blackwood scored 38 and was part of the only fifty stand in West Indies' second innings, adding 61 with Shamarh Brooks.
"I was very, very happy that Jermaine could come and do the part. It was very sudden with Darren going down with a concussion," Holder said. "We decided to replace him and Jermaine was around. He's been in the squad before and to see him get an opportunity, he showed a lot of character and guts as well. To be sprung on such a short notice, I think he responded well."
West Indies will spend the next few months trying to fix the batting issues through discussions, camps and practice sessions, but Holder believed the team was headed in the right direction. He called for patience and the need for collective solutions.
"We have just got to stay patient. I think this Test team has shown, in the last two-three years, that we are definitely headed in the right direction. We definitely just need to be a lot more consistent in Test cricket, and, in fact all three formats of world cricket. Again, it's one thing for us to keep saying it. We've just got to be doing things to make sure consistency can breed within the West Indies set-up and I just think enough talking has been done. We need to find solutions. It's not one or two individuals that need to find solution, it's the collective Cricket West Indies that needs to find solutions."
West Indies vs India
ICC World Test Championship
India tour of West Indies