Holder: WI ready for NZ challenge
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (CMC):
West Indies captain Jason Holder believes his side's outing in the lone tour match against New Zealand 'A' last weekend has left them in a good place for tomorrow's opening Test (match starts 5 p.m. today Ja time) at the Basin Reserve.
The Caribbean side drew the three-day match in Lincoln but flexed their muscle with the bat in piling up 451 for nine in their first innings before dismissing the hosts for 237 at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval.
"I thought it was a good game. Batsmen got some time in the middle, and bowlers got the chance to run in and bowl a few overs," Holder told reporters.
"Luckily for us, we had some really good weather. It wasn't as windy as it probably will be in Wellington, but I think we had enough wind to get a good feel of what's going to happen in Wellington, so hopefully, the guys are ready for it.
"We've got two days in Wellington to prepare before the first Test match, and we'll make use of those and go into the first Test match with all confidence."
The tour game saw Sunil Ambris, called up for this tour at the expense of Kyle Hope, blasting 153 and Shai Hope - Kyle's younger brother - fashioning a composed 110.
After a first-innings failure, key opener Kraigg Brathwaite chipped in with 88 in the second innings.
All the Windies bowlers - especially the seamers - then turned in decent shifts as they familiarised themselves with the conditions.
While question marks remain over opener Kieran Powell and Jermaine Blackwood, both of whom failed to impress, Holder said there would be chances during the actual Test to make amends.
"I'm pleased with where we're at, at the moment. Guys got time to spend in the middle, bowlers got a run out," the all-rounder explained.
"We were able to bowl out this New Zealand 'A' side in the first innings, and it was a good effort, and I think going into this [Test] we should be full of confidence."
West Indies are without a win at the Basin Reserve in 22 years - the last time they won a series on New Zealand soil. In fact, their last three outings at the ground ended in heavy defeats, with the last coming in 2013 when they went down by an innings and 73 runs.
From all early appearances, the track looks favourable to seamers, but Holder said it was imperative that the team performs regardless of the nature of the pitch.
"From what I've seen before, it tends to have a bit of grass on it and probably does a little bit early on. It can be a good wicket when you're batting as well," said Holder, yet to play a Test in New Zealand.