'Important we don't go backwards' - Jason Holder
Jason Holder accepted that his team had to step up if they were to challenge Australia in the first Test at Dominica and he also felt that the pitch would get tougher to bat on as the match progressed
West Indies allrounder Jason Holder conceded the hosts had to summon more fighting performances than that dished up on day one in Dominica if they are to challenge Australia in the Sir Frank Worrell Trophy series.
Holder made 21 and claimed the wicket of Shaun Marsh in the evening session, but it was telling that his middling day was deemed most noteworthy for speaking to the assembled press. Even if three Australian wickets were plucked in the final session, to be bowled out for 148 set the West Indians back considerably after the encouraging signs shown in a shared series against England.
"We had a pretty decent series against England but that's behind us, at this present time we're playing Australia and they're the No. 2 ranked side on the world, so we need to be better than we were in the England series," Holder said. "We can't forget what we did in the England series, we did a lot of good things there and it's important we carry on in that same vein and not lapse and go back into a mode we don't want to get back into.
"We always expect a very good challenge from Australia. They're in your face all the time and that's the traditional Australian cricket. We just need to stand up and fight. We showed a lot of fight in the last series and we've shown fight in the past, it's within each and every individual to show some fight. We didn't show enough today, but I'm very confident we'll rebound in this series."
Holder denied that the dropping of Shivnarine Chanderpaul had distracted the young team ahead of this match, amid talk that some of Roseau's usual spectators had chosen not to attend in protest at the omission of the 40-year-old, plus the snub of the Windward Islands' Tyron Theophile.
"I wouldn't say it changed the dynamics at all," Holder insisted. "Obviously Shiv has had a very good career and it's beyond me, the decision for him to be left out, I can't really answer those questions, I just think we really need to pull together as a side. We have a very young side and we have some very good players.
"We just need to work with what we have, and I have full confidence the team we have now is the best team. We just need to have that belief and keep going forward together."
In assessing the pitch, Holder said he had been impressed by Josh Hazlewood but also felt the surface was likely to get more challenging with each day as its variable pace and bounce became more exaggerated in addition to taking spin. "Watching from the pavilion I found it a little two-paced, I felt Josh Hazlewood bowled really well, put the ball in the right areas and got a little bit of movement as well," Holder said.
"When I went in to bat I found it a little bit slow and once you bowl straight wicket to wicket it became hard to score. If you can keep batsmen guessing and making them play on these types of wickets with the variable bounce, it's in your favour as a bowler."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig