ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Ashley Nurse believes the loss of Shannon Gabriel to injury, coupled with a series of dropped catches, helped push West Indies to their second defeat in three days to England on Sunday.
West Indies were held to 225 all out in the second One-Day International of the three-match series and England then recovered from 124 for six in the 25th over, to pull off victory with 10 balls remaining in the game.
Speedster Gabriel, who removed Sam Billings without scoring to the second ball of the innings with a single run on the board, limped out of the contest at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium with a side strain after sending down just three overs.
“With 225 [to defend] and be a bowler short is a really tough job,” off-spinner Nurse told reporters.
“I think we did really well to push the game as far as we did – kudos to the bowlers – but being a bowler short with that type of score is really tough.”
He added: “Obviously taking wickets throughout the course of the game was the order of the day having scored 225, and being 20 to 30 runs short we knew we had to bowl out the team to win.”
England appeared to be cruising on the backs of opener Jason Roy’s aggressive 52 but his dismissal saw five wickets fall for 37 runs as West Indies clawed their way back into the game.
However, Joe Root top-scored with 90 not out and Chris Woakes stroked an unbeaten 68, the pair adding 102 in an unbroken seventh wicket stand to see England to victory.
West Indies were left only with themselves to blame as, like in the first ODI last Friday, they once again dropped several catches which let England off the hook.
Nurse conceded it was an area which required definite improvement.
“From a boy you’ve heard that catches win matches and for us to drop five that’s definitely too many chances for players that are in and players of that quality,” the 28-year-old lamented.
“We’ll probably have to go back to the drawing board and come back tough next game.”
Sunday’s four-wicket defeat condemned West Indies to their second straight series loss following on from their whitewash against Pakistan last September, and it also extended their miserable run against England whom they have not beaten in an ODI series in ten years.
West Indies will face their old foes at Kensington Oval on Thursday in the final match of the series where Nurse hopes the hosts can produce an improved performance.
“From the time I came into the team in Zimbabwe (Tri-Nations Series last November) we’ve been playing really good cricket,” Nurse pointed out.
“We’ve been competing really well, fighting really hard as a team and it’s just to take that one step over the line and get the wins.
“[We need] probably a little more consistency – score some more runs so the bowlers would have a chance to defend them and take the chances, and I think we should be good from there.”