West Indies look to break losing run
Captain Jason Holder is banking on a coin toss to help set up an unlikely change in fortune and close off a wretched tour of the United Arab Emirates when West Indies meet Pakistan in the third and final Test match today.
Holder wants to bat first in the three Test series for the first time at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, desperate for a face-saving strategy that could conjure a consolation win on a winless tour thus far.
The Caribbean side is seeking to avoid a clean sweep by the rampaging Pakistanis after losing the series and suffering the same fate in the three-match ODI and three-match T20 series earlier.
“If we can bat first and perhaps put some runs on the board for a change and see where that takes us. We have been made to play catch up for most of these Test matches. We have done really well in the second innings of each test match,” said Holder.
“Winning the toss could be crucial. We have bowled first in both Test matches. Maybe it’s time to change the dynamics a bit and take first knock on a fresh pit,” he continued.
West Indies have produced poor performances overall, but bounced back courageously in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to push those matches into the final day although they were unable to press hard enough to secure victory.
Outstanding performances from Darren Bravo, Devendra Bishoo, Shannon Gabriel and Jermaine Blackwood have powered their efforts, but wins continue to elude Holder’s men.
Barbadian fast bowler Miguel Cummins, who took only one wicket in the first two Tests, is likely to be replaced by promising Leeward Islands pacer Alzarri Joseph.
Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich is likely to return for the final Test after injury concerns.
“He is still progressing nicely,” the Windies skipper disclosed.
“I think he is a lot better than he was in the beginning of the last test match, so we are still going to give him some time up to tomorrow and make an assessment then.”
HUNGRY FOR A TEST WIN
West Indies are hungry for a Test win since their last victory was by five wickets over England in Barbados in May last year.
Reports from Sharjah suggest that the pitch appears flat and could offer help to the spinners towards the end of the Test. Guyanese leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo could, therefore, prove useful after taking ten wickets in Dubai and would be seeking to extend his heroics to the final Test.
“The pitch here is normally pretty good. I think the only question is whether it will hold together or slow down like probably Abu Dhabi pitch did or deteriorate like Dubai pitch,” said Holder in an interview with members of the media after a full training session yesterday.
“We played a warm-up game here and guys played two ODIs here as well... so everybody should be familiar with these conditions and we are confident we will execute our plans.”
First ball is 1 a.m. Jamaica time.