Holder calls for big Windies effort on flat track today
NORTH SOUND, Antigua (CMC):
Faced with a flat track in their quest for victory today, leading all-rounder Jason Holder has urged West Indies to “give a big effort” and not to think too much about conditions.
Admitting the pitch was “not the most conducive for faster bowlers”, Holder said it was now a matter for the home side to become innovative to take 10 wickets in the second Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and clinch the series.
Sri Lanka, set an improbable 377 for victory, ended yesterday’s fourth day on 29 without loss.
“It will take a lot of hard yards tomorrow but we’re up for it, everybody is up for it. If we can remain fresh in short bursts, give everything we’ve got in each burst, [we will do well],” Holder said after the day's play yesterday.
“All the captain can ask of us is a big effort. We’ve just got to give a big effort, keep the pitch out of our minds as much as possible and just give a really big effort.”
The pitch has remained good for batting throughout the affair and has shown little sign of any major deterioration.
It was good enough for West Indies to rack up 354 in their first innings after being sent in, and then post 280 for four declared in their second innings yesterday.
West Indies will be heartened by their first innings bowling effort which saw them roll Sri Lanka over for only 258 to take a 96-run lead, and Holder said bowlers needed to be intelligent again in their approach on the placid pitch.
“It’s not the most conducive for faster bowlers; you’ve got to put something in it,” the 29-year-old who made an unbeaten 71 on Thursday to be one of three half-century makers said.
“We’ve got to be smart as well. I think field placing tomorrow will be very very crucial – in-and-out fields, playing with the batsmen’s minds a bit and just be patient.
“We’re in a really good position and it will be very, very difficult for them to chase the runs. We’ve got one foot down and it’s a matter for us to be really really smart.
“We’ve really got to come tomorrow morning and give a really big effort. I think tomorrow’s morning session is very very crucial. If we can break the back of their batting – we’ve got [Suranga] Lakmal coming at seven so it’s hopeful for us.
“It’s just a matter for us to put the hard yards in early and put them under some pressure.”
Although the pitch has yet to offer any major assistance to the slower bowlers, Holder said off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall could be a key weapon on the final day.
“Jimmy (Cornwall) has a very important role to play tomorrow. The wicket is obviously worn. We saw a little bit of variable bounce so far in this game so I think that should help us a lot,” Holder said.
“He’s got a bag of tricks too. He’s very familiar with the surface here and hopefully he can extract whatever is left there to get us some wickets tomorrow.”
The final day bowls off at 9 a.m. Jamaica time.