LONDON, CMC – Head coach Stuart Law wants to see the resurgent West Indies build on their good work from Headingley and pull off something special in the third Test starting Thursday at Lord’s.
Speaking yesterday, Law was his usual forthright self, indicating the Windies were looking to match England’s skill, in the decisive match at the home of cricket.
The Caribbean lost the first Test in three days by an innings at Edgbaston but hit back to win by five wickets in the second contest.
“I’m immensely proud of the boys … to come out and produce what they did was an amazing turnaround,” the Australian said.
“Now we’ve reached Lord’s – the home of cricket – and everyone is excited and talking about what could be a great end to the series. There’s the whole sense of occasion – walking into the pavilion, seeing the greats on the walls, the added media attention and all that comes with a Test match at Lord’s.”
He continued: “We did the hard work at Headingley and we know only hard work will do it for us again here. Before the series I told the players to make their own history, to chart their paths and to make a statement to the world that we can compete with the best.”
A win at Lord’s would hand the regional side their first series victory in England in nearly three decades and their first over England in eight years.
The victory at Headingley was the first Test win over England in 17 years and it came courtesy of 23-year-old stroke-maker Shai Hope who scored a century in both innings as the visitors chased down 322 on the final day.
The right-hander made 118 not out – with 14 boundaries off 211 balls – to lead the Windies run chase and it came on the back of his first innings 147. He became the first batsman to score two centuries in a first-class match at Headingley – the 534th first-class fixture at the venue and 76th Test match.
Law said that in Hope, the Windies had a “rock” on which they could build for the future.
“I remember sitting down next to him in the dressing room before the last day and saying ‘look, the plan is we’ll bat to tea, see where we are and if we’ve got wickets we’ll work out if we’re going to have a go or not’,” the former Australia batsman said.
“He looked at me and I said ‘what’s wrong with that?’ He looked at me again, shook his head and shrugged his shoulders and I said ‘okay, what’s your plan?’
“‘We’re going to win’, he said. That’s the God’s honest truth. And he went out and won the game. He’s a rock. He’s a guy with a lot of talent who looks very good at the crease. We hadn’t seen that in international cricket, but Headingley showcased his talent.”
The run chase was the highest by Windies in England since the memorable nine-wicket win at Lord’s in 1984. Only Australia with 404 back in 1948 had made more to win in the fourth innings of a Headingley Test.
The other moment that impressed Law came after the win when instead of major celebrations, Hope remained calm.
“I think the fact he wasn’t over the top in his celebrations just means he’s hungry and he’s driven. He doesn’t want to stop where he’s at now; he wants to keep going. I think that’s a great sign,” Law pointed out.
“The challenge for Shai is to stay fit and healthy. If he does that, with the drive he’s got and the mental toughness and will to work, that will just make him better and better. He’s pretty good now, but he’s got the potential to be great.”