ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – After completely dominating England Lions in the first two four-day “Tests”, West Indies A will begin their quest for a clean sweep when the day/night final match bowls off at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground here today.
Though confident before the start of the series, the hosts would have hardly dreamed of the dominance they have enjoyed, winning the opening “Test” in Trelawny by two wickets and following up with an innings and 17-run victory inside three days in the second game in Kingston.
Newly installed head coach Floyd Reifer said the Caribbean side would be taking nothing for granted, however, even though they were focused on extending their winning streak.
“The guys are confident. Obviously we’re not going to underestimate the opposition. They’re going to come hard at us because we’ve dented their pride. They came to the Caribbean thinking that it would have been an easy walkover,” the former West Indies captain said.
“So we’re not going to get complacent. We’re going to play the game as hard as possible, play one day at a time, session by session, hour by hour. We’re going to go in there with the same mental attitude, the same desire to win and desire to perform.”
In both matches, West Indies A dominated in all areas. At the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, they led Lions by 27 runs on first innings after recovering from a dire situation of 114 for eight, to reach 279 all out.
Lions then collapsed from 60 for one in their second innings to 132 all out, leaving Windies A with a straightforward target of 106 for victory.
At Sabina Park last week, Windies A bundled the visitors out for 145 in their first innings before piling up 422 in reply, and 260 in the Lions second innings failed to save them from defeat.
Despite strong batting performances which have seen hundreds from senior team gloveman Shane Dowrich and Jahmar Hamilton, Reifer said there was still a need for bigger efforts at the top of the order. “It’s still at the development stage for some guys and in our batting, we still need to build some more partnerships at the top which is important for us,” he explained.
“Going into the last Test match, that is one of the boxes we want to tick off. In the last couple of games especially the last “Test” match, we got some good partnerships in the middle order and the lower order so it is for us now to tick that next box to get the top order building some longer partnerships.”
Lions, with the likes of Test players Keaton Jennings, Toby Roland-Jones and Mason Crane, had attracted the odds prior to the start of the series.
However, left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican has taken 20 wickets and off-spinning all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall, 14, to support a batting unit coming into its own, and deliver key results in the series.
Reifer said the series victory had been a critical part of the side’s development, as they were also learning how to win.
“It was very important for us, important for West Indies cricket as well and obviously for the confidence of the players and the development of the players,” the Barbadian pointed out.
“It is always good to win. Winning is a habit and we want to teach the guys how to win cricket games and how to develop their skills on and off the field.
“It was a total team effort so from the beginning when we had our initial meetings we were talking about playing together as a team, sticking together and working hard.
“We wanted to improve the work ethic; the coaches worked well with the players, the players worked well with the coaches so it was a total team effort.”Pressure26.