HAMILTON, New Zealand, CMC – Captain Jason Holder yesterday urged “soul-searching” from his bruised West Indies side after they suffered a humiliating innings defeat inside four days in the opening Test at Seddon Park.
The Caribbean side started the penultimate day still trailing by 185 runs after being asked to follow on, and were dismissed for 247 about 40 minutes before lunch, despite a second Test hundred from Jermaine Blackwood.
Singling out the batting group in particular, Holder said it was crucial they adapted faster to the conditions, especially with not much time for recovery with the second Test beginning Friday (Thursday evening, Eastern Caribbean time).
“We’ve just got to do some soul-searching. It’s not a big turnaround in between games, just a few days and we’re back into it again so it’s a matter for the batters just to work it out a little more and find ways to get through,” Holder told a news conference.
“Ideally, I thought the preparation was spot on. I don’t know how much longer we could come up here and spend prior to a tour. You had two weeks quarantine, two-and-a-half weeks of preparation – probably three weeks – preparing for this Test match. I think that is enough time.
“I think we’ve just got to find a way to transcend some of the practice time and efforts in training into the cricket on the field and that’s the difference.”
“We can do it time and time again in practice under no pressure but the moment you cross that line for a cricket game that’s when it really counts so I think we need to adapt a little bit faster.”
West Indies were rolled over for 138 in their first innings on Saturday’s third day after resuming on an overnight 49 without loss, in reply to New Zealand’s mammoth 519 for seven declared.
Following on by 381 runs, West Indies were reduced to 27 for four in their second innings and the match was extended into the fourth day only due to an eventual 155-run seventh wicket stand Blackwood and the tail-ender Alzarri Joseph who made a career-best 86.
Blackwood, on 80 at the start of Sunday’s penultimate day, finished on 104 – his second Test hundred.
Pointing to the collapses in both innings, Holder said his side needed to find the courage to fight back especially during difficult stages of the game which tested their mettle.
“Obviously we didn’t bat well in this Test match. I think in the recent past our batting has been inconsistent and it’s probably been our problem in the last couple years,” Holder pointed out.
“From here to Wellington, we’ve got to switch on a little bit more, dig a little deeper. I feel up front in the early stages of our innings we needed to buckle down a little bit more, fight a little harder in those tough periods and get through them.
“For example, when New Zealand spent a day in the field, coming back out this morning, they seemed a bit more jaded obviously. They’re human, obviously, they’re normal people as well too. We need to make them bowl two, three spells, give ourselves a chance up front and cash in at the back end.”
Holder, who failed in the game with scores of 25 not out and eight, said the manner in which West Indies openers batted in the final session of day two was the ideal blueprint.
“I commended the guys for that because I felt that was a crucial moment in the game. Had New Zealand gotten in to our middle order that evening, it could have been a lot different coming into the third day’s play,” the 29-year-old explained.
“That application is what we’re looking for a little bit more of from our top order. The way the guys really knuckled down, left the ball really well … and what was really disappointing to see was the following day after doing the hard work the evening before, we didn’t come in and show the same application.”
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