Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Galle
GALLE: West Indies captain blamed his team’s poor catching and the batsmen’s failure to put enough runs on the board for their innings and six runs defeat to Sri Lanka in the first Test concluded at Galle International Stadium.
West Indies spilled as many as five chances which included two off Dinesh Chandimal at 11 and 82 who went onto score 151 and they managed totals of 251 and 227 in both innings.
“It’s important that we put up a first innings total that’s respectable. We only scored 250-odd in the first innings, and it set us back. We were pretty much behind the game from there,” said Holder at the post-match press conference.
“Having said that, if we held our chances when we bowled, it would have looked a lot different as well. I must commend our bowlers. They did really well in the first innings. To come back at the opposition and actually bowl them out was very commendable. But we just need to apply ourselves a bit more when we bat. Hopefully we can put some runs up in the second Test.
“We created chances but we just didn’t take them when we came. If we had, their first innings total would have looked a lot different. If we had a new batsman in at crucial stages when our fast bowlers were fresh, we would have had a chance to have a good burst at them.
“I thought our spinner bowled reasonably well, and our part timers in Marlon (Samuels) and Kraigg (Brathwaite) did a wonderful job for us. The combination was good enough for this game. It was unfortunate that we didn’t hold our chances. I guess we paid for it.”
Holder singled out Jermaine Blackwood for his fine attacking innings of 92 in the second innings.
“That’s just the way he plays. He’s a very good player and shows positive intent all the time,” said Holder. “That’s one thing that’s what we’ve been stressing with all the batsmen – play positive, trust in your defence, trust in your strokeplay, and play your game. Unfortunately some of our batsmen didn’t get the score we were looking for. One thing we did was apply ourselves to a certain extent, but we are just not carrying on.”
Commenting on the pitch Holder said that it was a good batting strip and you could score runs on it once you applied yourself.
“There’s not much in it for the bowlers. Even Rangana Herath with the harder ball he was more effective. As the ball got softer he had to work a lot harder for his wickets. We need to be a little bit patient when we’re batting against him, and just be a little bit more positive and decisive. Once we do that in the second Test, we’ll be a lot better off.”
Holder said the support the Lankan fast bowlers gave Herath was something they also needed to adopt.
“Herath bowled well and got ten wickets in this game, and their fast bowlers supported him well. We can take a leaf from their book and be a little bit more disciplined, which we were in the first innings, and just hold our chances. That’s the key point going forward,” said Holder.
He was at a loss to put a finger on why West Indies failed to build partnerships while batting in both innings.
“Everybody has their own time to bat. Everybody bats for themselves. At this present time we need to knock it down, we need to take it slower and slow down the game as much as possible – simplify it as much as possible, and make it easy for us.
“We’ve been talking about it in the dressing room and coming up with solutions. I have full confidence in the guys. I just told them – don’t get dejected, it’s not the end of the world. We have another Test match to make amends and come back stronger. We will push for that 1-all draw.”
Making his debut as a Test captain Holder said there was no pressure for him at all.
“I enjoyed it. It was a very, very enjoyable experience. I enjoy playing Test cricket and I enjoy playing for the West Indies,” said Holder. “I enjoy the camaraderie out there, and there’ no pressure at all. My guys make it easy for me. I’m still in good spirits and I’m confident we can turn things around.”