ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – West Indies captain Darren Sammy has expressed optimism of a win which would level the Digicel series against Australia in the third and final Test starting here today.
Despite inconsistent batting which led to a loss by three wickets in the opening Test in Barbados, Sammy reckoned that the fighting spirit exhibited by his team against the Australians in the five-match One-Day and two-match Twenty International series which were both drawn, could extend to what has been a competitive Test rubber as well.
“I know what we want to do. We want to win. We drew the T20 and ODI series and we are looking for nothing less than a win here. We are not going to accept a draw,” Sammy told reporters on the eve of the match at Windsor Park Stadium.
“It would mean everything to us. Australia came here and everybody didn’t give us a chance but we have played a brand of cricket that we want to get used to. But with said, we still got to get a victory. That’s what we are looking for. To level the series against Australia would be another stepping stone for us moving forward.”
Should West Indies win, it will be the first time since 1999 a Test series between the two sides has not been won by Australia, who have retained the Frank Worrell Trophy.
Sammy described the pitch as “good” compared with that for the Test against India in July last year when West Indies battled to a draw, helped by fighting second centuries from Kirk Edwards on debut, and veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
“I think they have given us a good wicket. Last year against India it was a bit dry but looking at the pitch, it looks like a good wicket. Something in it for everybody. Good bounce and stuff and the pacers should get a little sideways movement, and on the fourth and fifth day spinners will get something so I think we are looking for a very exciting final Test match in Dominica,” Sammy asserted.
Left-hander Chanderpaul remains an integral part of the West Indies batting with a hundred in Barbados and 94 in the rain-hit second Test in Trinidad – he now needs 82 runs to reach 10,000 in Tests – but Kirk Edwards will miss his second straight Test because of a knee injury.
There is also concern over the fitness of experienced fast bowler Fidel Edwards, who has complained of back soreness following the second Test.
“We are still monitoring him. Fidel is still optimistic that he is going to play. We will speak to the physio and consult with Fidel and hopefully by tomorrow morning or tonight we should have a definite on his situation,” Sammy said.
“Also the selectors will take into consideration that we have to keep our bowlers fresh especially Fidel, who had a long two-year break from the game and so far since he has been back he has been playing a lot of cricket.
“We know we have Ravi Rampaul waiting in the wings. He was really good for us last year and I know he is itching to get an opportunity out there on the field so whatever we decide, whether Fidel or Ravi plays, I know I am expecting the best.”
Sammy said it was now a matter of his side playing to their full potential if a win is to be attained.
“We know we have our plans and are looking to execute these plans. It would mean everything for me and the West Indies boys and all the fans who have turned out this series to watch us play.
“I try to involve everybody in the team plans. The coach (Ottis Gibson) comes up with the way we want to play and we ourselves have an input as to how we want to go out and play and so we have all agreed that we got to show that never-say-die attitude and everybody is up for it. I just try to go out there and lead the team to the best I can.
“So far we have been doing some good stuff and it is good to see that I am contributing to the team success as well and we are just looking to build and grow. As long as we continue on that path I can see us getting better and better.”
Sammy also reckoned that there were positive similarities in the leadership styles of both himself and his opposite number Michael Clarke, which should lead to an exciting match.
“Both teams are looking to be competitive. On the field of play, we both play hard. Michael Clarke is a positive captain and I think I am positive as well, and it’s all good for the game that we are trying to get results.
“This Test match here, I think that’s what both captains will be looking for. We came here last year against India and we drew and we got a standing ovation from the crowd, but this year we want to go one step further and it’s all about winning this Test match and levelling the series. And we are going to go out on the cricket field and compete and play five hard days of cricket and hopefully we will be on the winning end.
“Winning against Australia is always difficult but now we have the belief and we have shown that we could win. We just need to eliminate that one hour that tends to set us back. Once we could do that and continue to bowl the way we have been bowling and improve on our batting and hopefully hold all our catches, we could see us winning this Test here. I am quite confident that we could do that.
“We just have to be more disciplined in our approach. I think it is more mental than anything else. Just be prepared to play five good days of cricket and bat properly in both innings. We are going to come out and give it our best shot. It should be a very exciting game with a good cricket pitch,” Sammy said.
Clarke said: “I’m pretty sure all the boys will want to make this Test a good one for themselves personally and for the team because we’ve had a really good summer. We want to finish on a high before we get stuck into one-day cricket and the Twenty20 World Cup.”
West Indies (from) – Darren Sammy (captain), Adrian Barath, Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Carlton Baugh, Shane Shillingford, Kemar Roach, Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul, Assad Fudadin.
Australia (possible): Michael Clarke (captain), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Starc, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon.