Windies 'ready to move on' - Caribbean cricketers chase ODI win to keep South Africa series alive
EAST LONDON, South Africa (CMC):
West Indies, facing a series defeat against South Africa, will attempt to strike back to keep their chances alive when both teams meet in the third of the five-match one-day international (ODI) series at the Buffalo Park in East London today.
The West Indies will have to raise their game if they are to stop the South Africans from sealing the series with a win and two games in hand, after they won the first couple of ODIs comfortably.
Coach Stuart Williams has called for improvements in all areas of the all-important match, which starts at 1:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. Eastern Caribbean Time/6:30 a.m. Jamaica Time).
Williams said the team did a full debriefing following Sunday's 148-run defeat in Johannesburg. On the back of a record ODI century from A.B. de Villiers (100 off 31 balls), who eventually hammered 149 off 44 balls, Hashim Amla's 153 and Rilee Roussouw's 128, South Africa hammered West Indies to make 439 for two. West Indies replied with 291 for seven and will look to rebound in the day/night contest.
Looking To Improve
"That is the game, anybody getting hit like that from AB and Amla would feel a little bit dejected, but that game is over, we've to move on," Williams offered after the team's training yesterday.
"We've just got to lift ourselves and get ready for tomorrow's game. We've had our debriefing, we've had our team meeting. All the guys are in the spirit, we're ready to move on."
Williams added: "We're looking to improve in the field, and obviously, on the bowling front. As a batting unit we've been doing fairly okay.
"To beat South Africa we're going to need a total team effort, we've got to bat, bowl and field well, we cannot have any shortcomings."
The Windies bowling attack is expected to particularly target the top three South Africa batsmen, who have garnered most of their runs protecting a vulnerable middle order from exposure. South Africa lost five wickets for 34 runs between the 40th and 48th over in the first ODI and still look shaky at number six and seven.
The pressure will be on senior middle order batsman Marlon Samuels, who has been criticised for throwing his wicket away, to bat with more responsibility as the Caribbean side faces a series defeat.
The spotlight will also be on maverick opener Chris Gayle, who plundered the bowling in the T20 series, but whose flagging form will be a concern. Gayle has not scored an ODI century in 14 matches, dating back to June 2013, and has only managed one fifty in that time.
Lendl Simmons, who is part of the World Cup squad, is nursing a finger injury but could be slotted into the team in place of Leon Johnson to bolster the batting.
The only other change that could be made is in the seam department, where Jerome Taylor may be given a rest at the expense of Sheldon Cottrell. Taylor has been expensive, giving away 145 runs in the last two matches and claiming just three wickets.
Some commentators believe conditions are ideal for West Indies to bounce back. East London's pitch is much slower than Johannesburg, and the ball is expected to be slow in coming on to the bat, with very little assistance for the pacers.
"It's a totally new ball game," Williams said. "What happened in Johannesburg is gone, we've to move on; we'll have to start from zero."
Late evening rain is also forecast which may hamper the second innings.