WELLINGTON, New Zealand, CMC – Shimron Hetmyer said yesterday West Indies would not be thinking too far ahead, despite their great start to their second innings, in their quest to rescue the opening Test against New Zealand.
Trailing by 386 on first innings after the Black Caps piled 520 for nine declared, the Windies ended day three at the Basin Reserve on 214 for two – still requiring 172 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Hetmyer, who stroked a maiden Test half-century during the innings, said the key was to bat in partnerships and focus on each session at a time.
“When we came in [at the innings break] … the coaches said to us that we had done in the first innings was already past and we have to look ahead to the score that we have to get and to try as much as possible to get that score,” the 20-year-old told reporters.
“We were looking at two partnerships in excess of 150 and right now we have two good batsmen at the crease in Shai (Hope) and Kraigg (Brathwaite) and we’re just hoping they can set it up and get a 100 or even 200-run partnership.”
He added: “We play cricket as we see it and we play it [day-by-day]. Today is already gone so we’re just looking forward to the next day.”
Monday’s (today’s) penultimate day will be pivotal, with the Windies’ two best batsmen at the crease.
Brathwaite is unbeaten on 79 while Hope has 24 not out, and the pair have already put on 48 for the third wicket.
Brathwaite anchored key stands, adding 72 for the first wicket with Kieran Powell (40) and a further 94 for the second wicket with Hetmyer.
And according to the left-hander, Brathwaite remained the key to the Windies fortunes in the match.
“I think he is, in a sense, one of the most important batsmen as of now,” Hetmyer stressed.
“He’s like an anchor for us … and it gives us a drive to know when you go out there [to bat], there’s Kraigg there as well. You can be free at your end [to play normally].
“Like me for instance, [I can keep] playing my shots with him [at the other end].”
He continued: “I am really comfortable batting with Kraigg because he keeps telling me just be myself and just express myself and enjoy it as much as you can.”
Hetmyer caught the attention of many with his audacious innings, smashing eight fours and two sixes off just 89 deliveries, in his fourth Test and first in seven months.
He was positive from the outset, gathering boundaries on both sides of the square and his two sixes – a clean blow over long-on off the left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner and a majestic straight hit off left-arm pacer Trent Boult – left tongues wagging.
Hetmyer said he had just approached the innings as he normally would any other, looking to punish loose deliveries.
“To me, when I’m batting, it doesn’t seem as if I score that fast. I just bat until I see a bad ball presented or what I think is a bad ball and I just put it away,” he said.
“Before I got here [to New Zealand], I had some good scores back home in the Caribbean so I said to myself I’d just go back to what I’d been doing well and I guess it worked.”