Holder hoping second Test draw serves as catalyst

KINGSTON, Jamaica,  CMC – Captain Jason Holder has urged West Indies to build on their spirited final day performance here Wednesday which saw them earn an improbable draw in the second Test against India at Sabina Park.

Starting the final day on 48 for four in their second innings – still requiring a further 256 runs to avoid an innings defeat – West Indies bucked recent trends to rack up 388 for six and deny India a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

“It’s all about improvement for us. It’s a young side and I don’t expect leaps and bounds from this group so soon but it is just important that we continue to improve,” Holder told a media conference afterward.

SMILING AMIDST THE STORM: West Indies captain Jason Holder wants West Indies to build on their inspiring second-Test display at Sabina Park.
SMILING AMIDST THE STORM: West Indies captain Jason Holder wants West Indies to build on their inspiring second-Test display at Sabina Park.

“I think with a performance like this, it’s important we don’t fall back into old habits and we don’t take two steps backward. It’s important that we continue looking for ways to improve.”

He continued: “I asked the bowlers to be a lot more patient in this Test match and I think the bowlers did an outstanding job. Although we didn’t get the wickets we were looking for, the pressure was there and we sustained the pressure throughout the entire innings.

“And in the second innings, it just shows what we can do when we put partnerships together and just build something from the beginning of the innings. At the beginning of our innings it’s quite tough and more often than not, we tend to give our innings away but it shows that when we apply ourselves early in the innings and fight, we can get big partnerships together.”

West Indies were propelled by a magnificent unbeaten, maiden hundred from Roston Chase who batted the entire day for 137. He received support from wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich (74), Holder (64 not out) and Jermaine Blackwood (63).

Chase and Blackwood started the rally in the morning session with an up tempo 93-run, fifth wicket stand, and Chase was key again in anchoring a 144-run, sixth wicket partnership with Dowrich.

In the afternoon session, he paired with Holder to add a further 103 in an unbroken seventh wicket stand.

“We got a really good partnership from Blackwood and Chase at the beginning of the day and that set up the game for us, it laid the foundation for the entire day,” Holder pointed out.

“Then Shane Dowrich came out and played an outstanding knock – tough luck to be given out at that stage but I thought his partnership with Roston was very, very crucial. I just came out and continued the focus and made sure I was there at the end.

“A lot of credit must be given to Roston. To come in his second Test match and play the way he did in the circumstances, full credit to him. I just hope he continues in this vein, knows it’s just the start and hopefully he can have a long-lasting career for West Indies.”

West Indies’ batting had failed in the first Test in Antigua as they crashed to an innings and 92-run defeat and in the first innings here, they were bowled out on the first day cheaply for 196.

But Holder said he was impressed with the way his side had proved their true quality in the second innings, especially against the likes of the world-rated off-spinner Ravi Ashwin.

“With the bat, I think it is important we fight a little bit more at the beginning of our innings, once we do that we can show that we can apply ourselves and make runs,” Holder stressed.

“Obviously the Ashwin factor is a big factor. He’s a quality off-spinner and his record speaks for itself. But I thought we negotiated him quite well … when we got chances to attack him we did to try to put him under pressure, and try to manoeuvre the field the way we wanted it to be.

“Credit must go to our guys. We really put up our hands and batted quite well.”

West Indies were batted out of the game by India who amassed 500 for nine declared in their first innings, behind centuries from opener KL Rahul and middle order batsman Ajinkya Rahane.

But despite the display, Holder praised the bowling unit for their discipline.

“I think the key parts of this game was our bowling especially and the patience we showed. We could’ve easily been lacklustre and leaked runs and get impatient and try things and experiment a bit more,” he said.

“I really stressed to the guys we needed to hang in there … and just be patient. We may not [have been] getting the wickets we’re looking for – the pitch was probably at its best on day two and three for batting – and we really stuck to the task on those days and put in a real strong effort with the ball.

West Indies face India in the third Test in St Lucia starting next Tuesday.

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