After suffering a comprehensive 10-wicket defeat at the hands of India in the second Test in Hyderabad, West Indies skipper Jason Holder has said that the top-order batsmen have let the team down. By virtue of this loss, West Indies also conceded the two-Test series to India 2-0.
The Windies batsmen were guilty of playing too many attacking shots in the first Test at Rajkot. In reply to India’s mammoth 649/9 (declared), the visitors got bundled out for 181 and 196 with none of the batting pair sharing a 100-run stand. Although Holder and company put on a spirited show in the first innings of Hyderabad Test by amassing 311 runs, they let go the advantage in the second essay and got bowled out for 127.
Reflecting on his team’s performance, Holder told reporters: "It was a tough series no doubt; we didn't play our best cricket. In the last two-and-a-half years, we've had a few good results. Looking back, we were playing India in their own backyard. They are the No. 1 team in the world and we expect a good push from them. There were a few other positive performances like Roston Chase, for instance."
"We still have some promising, young cricketers; it's just a matter of putting the team together. They have to learn and learn quickly. If there's one thing I've learnt in my short tenure in Test cricket, it is that you've got to be patient," he added.
Holder cited Windies' abject surrender largely due to the failure of their top five batsmen.
"We haven't put up runs on the board. For quite some time, it has been relatively inconsistent. I think our top order has really let us down," he said before adding, "We've been heavily reliant on our middle to lower half which is not ideal in any circumstance. The guys have to put their hand up and come to the party."
The batting collapses, however, have little to do with 'technical deficiency', according to Holder.
"There are times when you've to put your foot down and let people know that they're not pulling their weight. It's not a matter of guys having issues with their technique, the thought process at a particular time may not be the best one. Especially our youngsters need to understand the importance of building an innings in Test cricket; it's not an arena where you just come and start blasting the ball," he asserted.
In a hostile spell of new-ball bowling on the third morning, Holder claimed five-wicket haul (5/56) to trigger a batting collapse which saw India lose its last six wickets for just 59 runs.
When asked about his and Shannon Gabriel’s plan on Sunday morning, Holder revealed that the strategy was to attack the stumps.
"On these surfaces, you want to be bowling at the wickets. That's something we wanted to do -- challenging the stumps regardless of whether it's a spinner or a pacer. I strive for accuracy and building pressure. For me, I have to find a way to hit my length and cause problems because I generally tend to move the ball both ways and I try to use that to my advantage. That said, we ended up bowling quite a few loose deliveries as a unit but I can't fault the bowlers, to be honest,” he stated.
"They put in a very good effort, from the position India were in after yesterday's play, they could've easily pushed on and given us a 100-plus lead which would've been a tough ask on a surface such as this one. It played reasonably well. We spoke about just how important this morning session was, so it was good to see the boys charging in and bowling India out," the Windies skipper explained.
(With inputs from Sportstar)