LEEDS, England, CMC – Bowling coach, Roddy Estwick, conceded yesterday that West Indies had failed to properly negotiate the big moments on the penultimate day of the second Test but warned pundits not to write off the Caribbean side ahead of a tense final day on Tuesday.
West Indies entered the day in a strong position with England on 171 for three – only two runs ahead – but let the advantage slip, allowing the hosts to pile up 490 for eight declared in their second innings at Headingley.
Set a challenging 322 for victory, the Windies finished the day on five without loss.
“We didn’t play the big moments well at all today. When the captain Joe Root got out they were 40-odd for four [overall] and we then dropped a catch soon after so the big moments we didn’t play well at all,” Estwick told reporters.
“But it’s a very young team [and] we’re still learning. They’ve got to learn that when you have the initiative and the momentum you’ve got to run with it for as long as possible.”
West Indies were hurt by half-centuries from Moeen (84), Root (72), Chris Woakes (61 not out), Dawid Malan (61) and Ben Stokes (58), all of whom cashed in on a tame Windies attack in good batting conditions.
West Indies seemed to be pulling things back when they grabbed three wickets for just 27 runs in the second session to reduce England to 357 for seven at tea – a lead of 188 runs – but Ali and Woakes then posted 117 for the eighth wicket to keep their side on top in the final session.
Estwick said by then, the workload had begun to take its toll especially on the Windies seamers and there was little to give as they searched for the important breakthrough.
“When you go in with three seamers it is always very difficult and on a very good pitch … it’s been a good pitch all the way through and it was difficult after tea,” Estwick lamented.
“You could see the boys really wanted to put in a big effort but they didn’t have a lot of energy left.”
West Indies have not won a Test in England in 17 years and following their humbling innings defeat inside three days at Edgbaston last weekend, the odds are already on another defeat today.
But Estwick remained positive, stressing there was still fight left in the Windies despite the disappointing day.
“The match is far from over. For us, we have 317 runs to make tomorrow and we’ve still got to believe that we can win the game,” he contended.
“I can go back as far as 1984 when [England] declared and gave us 300-odd to win and we got it with two wickets down so don’t write us off yet, we’re not out of it yet. We’ll be back and we’ll be fighting and we’ll regroup tonight.
“We’ll have our discussions and we’ll come back fighting.”