ROSEAU, Dominica – Captain Jason Holder has sprung to the defence of Shannon Gabriel, whose late rush of blood resulted in a series defeat to Pakistan on the final day of the decisive third Test yesterday.
With West Indies battling to save the match late in the evening, number 11 Gabriel survived just over half hour at the crease in a last wicket stand with century-maker Roston Chase, to frustrate the Pakistanis.
But with just one ball left to negotiate in the penultimate over of the day, Gabriel suffered a rush of blood, missed a swipe at leg-spinner Yasir Shah and was bowled for four, to hand the hosts a 101-run loss and a 2-1 defeat in the three-Test series.
“We’ve just got to give him encouragement. Up until then, he was doing an outstanding job, he’s done an outstanding job for us in this entire series,” Holder told reporters.
“He’s bowled his heart out. He’s gotten a match-winning haul for us in Barbados (second Test), he bowled his heart out in Jamaica (first Test), he bowled his heart out here in Dominica.”
He continued: “A lot of people don’t know where Shannon came from. Shannon started cricket quite late and to see the progress he’s made. I’ve been able to be with him in the HPC (High Performance Centre) and coming into international cricket, Shannon has made tremendous strides.
“So I am still very, very proud of him and that’s something that I will let him know in the dressing room. We make mistakes and hopefully he can learn from it and move forward.”
Prior to Gabriel’s indiscretion, Man-of-the-Match Roston Chase seemed poised to yet again pull off a remarkable draw for West Indies with a superb unbeaten 101.
He arrived at the crease inside the first hour of the day and proceeded to defy Pakistan in a knock lasting 239 balls and a shade over six hours. He counted 12 fours and a six.
The knock was his second hundred of the series and third in the series, and earned him Man-of-the-Match honours.
Holder said neither Gabriel’s mistake nor the defeat should be allowed to overshadow Chase’s magnificent effort.
“I have full confidence in Shannon. Shannon has a pretty good defence. I guess at that stage a lot of things come in your mind and at the end of the day it got the better of him I guess,” the all-rounder noted.
“Credit must go to Roston Chase though, I thought the way he played was outstanding, not only in this Test match but in the Test series. He’s led from the front, showed character, showed a lot of guts, showed class – something I have not seen in West Indies cricket for a little while.”
The victory for Pakistan saw them clinch their maiden series win in the Caribbean since the two teams first met 59 years ago.
For West Indies it was their second series loss to Pakistan in seven months and their sixth straight series defeat overall. They have now lost 13 of their last 20 Tests.
Holder said in spite of the latest defeat, however, the side had continued to show signs of improvement.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow obviously coming so close and at the end just faltering but I’m still proud at the way the guys played the series,” he said.
“The guys showed a lot of promise and a lot of fight, we got hundreds, we got five-wicket hauls, we got Man-of-the-Match performances as well so there’s still a lot of positives to take away from this series. I just urge the guys to keep going in this same direction.
“One thing that sticks out for me is the fact is the fight – we’ve showed tremendous fight throughout this entire series. I guess in the first Test match we were probably out-played but definitely in Barbados and here in Dominica we showed a lot of fight.”