(Trinidad Express) West Indies and Guyana batsman Narsingh Deonarine started the Digicel Test series with question marks over his fitness and his ability to bat for long periods, but he has answered his critics and has been hailed by West Indies coach Ottis Gibson for the mature innings he played on the third day of the second Test, at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain.
Gibson commended the left-hander on his vital innings at the Oval on Tuesday, which brought the home side back into the contest after they were struggling at 100 for four in reply to Australia’s first innings total of 311.
Deonarine stood up with veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul for over four hours to put on 130 runs for the fifth wicket before losing his concentration after getting to his third Test half century—55 off of 139 balls.
He was the first of five wickets to fall in the final session on the third day’s play with just 19 runs added to the total.
Despite Deonarine’s momentary lapse that saw him stumped after being drawn out of his crease by spinner Nathan Lyon—who picked up four of the five wickets to fall to complete his second five-wicket haul in Test cricket—Gibson said it was good to see the 28-year-old left hander stepping up with the bat.
“It was a very good innings. I think, batting with Shiv—somebody he idolises—he played very well. He played a very mature kind of innings,” Gibson said of the batsman.
“It is a bit disappointing how he got out in the end but the fact that he batted so long and played with so much control is very good to see. He is somebody that has had an impact with the ball, and he is also now having an impact with the bat,” the coach added.
Deonarine is proving to be a handy spinner, having taken the two big wickets of Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey in Australia’s first innings. Deonarine had figures of two for 32 from 20 overs in the first innings in Trinidad and four for 19 in 11 overs in the first Test in Barbados.
In a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) media release, yesterday, Deonarine spoke about his partnership with Chanderpaul.
“It’s always great to bat with Shiv, he’s an inspiration,” said Deonarine. “You couldn’t have asked for a better man at the other end in that kind of a situation.
“He has been in those tough situations so many times and he knew exactly what to do to pull us out. He is someone I have learnt a lot from over the years, and he helped me throughout the innings.”
Deonarine added: “After losing (Darren) Bravo early in the day, I knew I had to really dig in and look to build up a partnership with Shiv. We talked a lot about rotating the strike and not allowing the bowlers to settle and bowl too long at any one of us.
“It was not an easy pitch to bat on and scoring was difficult. It was not the ideal pitch for strokeplay, so as a batsman, you had to leave out some of the attacking strokes and look to graft and build.
“So far, when you look at it, everyone has struggled, so we knew it would’ve been a tough battle out there. I’ve come back into the team and into Test cricket after some time away, and I’ve come back as a fighter.”