West Indies keen to bowl first on green Basin pitch
WELLINGTON, (Reuters) – West Indies captain Darren Sammy had little hesitation in asking Brendon McCullum to bat in the first test in Dunedin and would waste even less time in inserting New Zealand if he wins the toss for the second test at the Basin Reserve.
“I thought it was like the indoors here actually,” Sammy said on Tuesday, pointing to the vibrant green matting in the indoor nets at the Basin Reserve in central Wellington.
“I don’t think the guys have played on a surface so green before,” he added of a pitch that is expected to favour the quick bowlers following Wednesday’s toss.
“If you look at a wicket like that, 99 percent of the time you will bowl, so I hope it doesn’t trick us.
“And hopefully I win the toss,” he added laughing.
Sammy’s bowlers wasted first use of a green pitch at University Oval in Dunedin, bowling too short and not allowing the ball to swing or seam and the home side racked up 609 for nine declared.
New Zealand were poised to win the game before rain intervened on the final day, with the hosts 33 runs short of their first test victory under captain McCullum.
Sammy was keen to emphasise that his side had taken more out of the first test than McCullum’s, given West Indies had been forced to follow on and after some stoic second innings batting managed to draw, albeit with the help of the rain.
“I think we left Dunedin with a bit of confidence behind us knowing that we didn’t play our best cricket but we still salvaged a draw,” Sammy said.
“It gave the individual players a lot of confidence that they had been put under some serious pressure.
“We were always under pressure and we have managed to come through it and gives us confidence coming into the his test match.
“We are looking to improve on the last performance.”
Sammy expected to make few, if any, changes from their first test line-up though question marks surround right arm fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who finished the match in Dunedin with figures of none for 164 from 32.5 overs.
“We try to support our players … the first test match he did look rusty but chances are we will back him up again and give him some confidence, especially if what we see out there in the middle,” Sammy said of Gabriel’s likely inclusion.
The only likely change would be whether they added an additional bowler after Sammy was injured in the first test.
The 29-year-old did not bowl in the second innings and was limping while batting after he suffered a strain at the top of his hamstring.
Sammy had a fitness test on Tuesday and will test the injury while bowling in the nets.
“I am feeling very confident about it,” he said.
“Everything is good. It’s probably just bowling out there in the middle and the nets. Everything looks pretty good.”