KINGSTON, Jamaica – Embattled West Indies captain Jason Holder conceded Tuesday that his inexperienced side were enduring a difficult period, after they suffered a seven-wicket thrashing at the hands of Pakistan on the last day of the opening Test at Sabina Park.
Behind by 121 runs on first innings, the Windies started the second day on 93 for four but failed in their bid for survival, dismissed for a paltry 152, 37 minutes before the scheduled lunch break.
Pakistan then scored the 32 runs required for victory to condemn West Indies to their 11th defeat in their last 15 Tests, with just one victory to show in that period.
“It’s a tough phase. It is very tough but it is what it is,” Holder said moments following the Windies’ defeat.
“We’ve got to work with what we have [in terms of players]. I have full confidence in this young group. It’s just a matter of sticking together but we’ve got to learn. It’s just not a matter of us coming in and playing cricket, we’ve got to learn and we’ve got to learn from our mistakes.”
He added: “It’s a very inexperienced side basically in terms of our batting [but] it’s just a matter of them getting in and stamping their authority and there’s no better place to do it than in the next Test match.”
West Indies entered the game with a batting line-up which included two debutants – Guyanese left-handers Vishal Singh and Shimron Hetmyer – and three other batsmen in the top seven with less than 10 Tests to their name.
And the inexperience showed in the first innings as they slumped to 71 for five just after lunch on the opening day and needed half-centuries from Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich and Holder, to get up to 286.
“We did not make enough runs in the first innings. We lost wickets early and then we had to consolidate and we never really got that partnership going in the middle,” Holder explained.
“Credit must go to Shane Dowrich and Roston Chase [for] the way they batted. I came down at the end and tried to wag the tail a little bit but unfortunately that didn’t happen. We needed to get in excess of 300 runs but we didn’t.”
West Indies were then sloppy in the field as Pakistan piled up 407 to carve out a 121-run lead and batting a second time, the Caribbean side slumped to 93 for four at the close of Monday’s final day.
Tasked with surviving the final day, West Indies produced another sub-par display with the bat as leg-spinner Yasir Shah grabbed six wickets to help wreck the innings and earn Man-of-the-Match honours.
“Obviously we lost early wickets again [and] we were unable to get a good start,” Holder pointed out.
“Yasir Shah did bowl well but I thought we could’ve batted a lot better. From the position we were in yesterday evening, it would have been difficult coming into a fifth day pitch trying to survive Yasir.”
He said the twin failure of usually prolific opener Kraigg Brathwaite had hurt West Indies.
“We definitely need to get off to a better start. A big key for us is Kraigg Brathwaite and he didn’t get off in this Test match,” the all-rounder said.
“The last Test match which we won against Pakistan, he carried his bat in both innings. For him, he just needs to get in and stay in.”