WI seeking redemption
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, CMC:
West Indies will attempt to rebound from the sound thumping handed them by Sri Lanka last week when they square off with the hosts in the pivotal second and final Test, starting today.
The Caribbean side suffered a heavy innings and six-run defeat inside four days in Galle, a result that extended their miserable run of never having won a Test match on Sri Lankan soil.
Despite the drubbing, new captain Jason Holder says the mood in the camp has remained positive and said his side would be going all out to grab a win at the P. Sara Oval over the next five days.
"For sure, the guys are upbeat for the second Test match," Holder told a media conference here yesterday.
"It's obviously a must-win game for us to at least level the series, and the guys know the situation of the series, so it is all up to us to come into the series, into this last Test match, and just perform and get 20 wickets.
"The batsmen need to give us a chance to get 20 wickets. In the last game, we only had one opportunity with the ball and we got 10 wickets, so hopefully, we can put some runs on the board and also get the 20 wickets."
Of major concern for West Indies will be their batting and their fielding. In Galle, only Jermaine Blackwood with 92 in the second innings and Darren Bravo with 50 in the first managed to get half-centuries.
In the first innings, 10 players reached double figures, but only one of the top eight batsmen passed 25 as West Indies collapsed for 251.
The scenario was similar in the second innings, where six batsmen reached double figures, but only Blackwood managed to get past 35.
"We've done a lot of talking within thedressing room. I think it just boils down to digging a little deeper," Holder said regarding the batting.
"We all got starts [in the last Test], so it is an opportunity now for guys to put their heads down, dig a little deeper, and carry on. I think that's needed in this second Test match, and again, we've spoken about it, we've mentioned it, so it's all down to the batsmen in this game."
One growing concern is the form of the experienced Marlon Samuels. He scored 11 and zero in Galle, following on from his disappointment in the tour match here two weeks ago when he failed to score.
Holder said he was backing the stylish right-hander to strike form soon.
"He just had a bad game, but that's Test cricket, that's international sport," the 23-year-old said.
"What is important is for Marlon to come back stronger. He is one of the guys who digs deep when his back is against the wall."
West Indies were guilty of four dropped catches in Sri Lanka's massive first innings of 484. They put down Dinesh Chandimal twice and were forced to pay dearly as the right-hander chalked up 151.
Holder said following that poor display, the team paid special attention to fielding during training sessions.
"Over the last three days, we've done a lot of analysing. We've looked at a lot of footage. we've come into the practice sessions for the last few days and paid a lot of attention to our fielding," Holder noted.
Sri Lanka have made two changes to their squad for the Test, with off-spinner Dilruwan Perera and uncapped 20-year-old batsman Kusal Mendis replacing off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal and the out-of-form Lahiru Thirimanne.
SRI LANKA - Angelo Mathews (captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Rangana Herath, Dhammika Prasad, Kusal Perera, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep, Tharindu Kaushal, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Milinda Siriwardena, Kusal Mendis.
WEST INDIES - Jason Holder (captain), Kraig Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Rajendra Chandrika, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Jomel Warrican.