Simmons: Lack of centuries proving ‘costly’ for West Indies
By Akeem Greene
West Indies batting has been under the microscope even before the first ball in series was bowled and after the first Test, it seemed they were begging to pull their weight.
The first innings of the second Test showed even more promise until a collapse which allowed England to square the series.
West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons had stated his batsmen need to convert their starts, but four innings into this series and West Indies’ batsmen have still yet to reach a triple-figure score, despite scoring eight half-centuries.
Of the top seven, only opener John Campbell and Shai Hope have not scored a half-century thus far this series.
The coach felt had a player went to score a century in this match they could have had better control over the outcome of the second Test, which they lost by 113 runs.
“We had five, maybe six half-centuries (five to be exact) and no conversions. It is something we have been talking about a lot and it is disappointing…if one of the guys got a hundred and another 100-run partnership because we have had two or three 50-run partnerships,” he stated at the post-match presser.
“These are the little things that help you control the Test match and we had things under control up at that point. Our batsmen need to make hundreds because our bowlers have been doing their job and the now the batsmen have to stand up and do what they need to for West Indies cricket.”
Similar to the first Test, West Indies slumped to 37-4 in pursuit of 312, but Monday’s target was more academic than practical since the main would have been lasting the minimum of 85 overs to retain the Wisden Trophy.
The poor start has disappointed Simmons since he indicated they had a plan to bat up to tea and assess what would be their approach post-tea.
While it was the day five blunders that resulted in defeat, a critical period of the match was Stuart Broad’s burst with the second new ball late on the fourth day.
At that point, West Indies required only 38 more runs to avoid the follow-on of 270 and had six wickets in hand.
Broad then took three wickets – each one of them a recognised batsman – for one run and West Indies lost their final six wickets for 45 and in a matter of minutes, the match and the series were back in the balance.
“We lost control with the game in five or six overs with the new ball yesterday evening in a place where we were in a good position to bat through the day and then bat some of today then close off the day, but the spell from Broad is where we lost the game…we lost our way there and we could not hold it back.”
West Indies dug a deeper hole for themselves when Campbell dropped Ben Stokes on 29 on the fifth morning. Stokes went on to make an unbeaten 78 from 57 balls, which virtually nullified a winning outcome for West Indies.
“We know he [Stokes] can do that and if you go on to drop him within six balls of the start then you got problems. It is our doing that we had that opportunity to show what he is made of and we know what he is made of.”
The coach indicated he is concerned over the form of Campbell and especially Hope and they will decide in the coming days what possible changes they would make.
He also indicated they will consider options from the reserves.