WELLINGTON, New Zealand – West Indies captain Jason Holder has attributed his side’s heavy defeat in the opening Test against New Zealand early Monday, to the batting meltdown in the first innings.
Resuming the penultimate day at the Basin Reserve on 214 for two, West Indies slumped to 319 all out, 50 minutes after lunch, to go down by a innings and 67 runs.
And while the second innings performance was more encouraging, Holder said the Windies had paid the price for their paltry total on the opening day last Friday when they were turned over for 134.
“We didn’t help ourselves on day one and to get bowled on the first day of any Test match doesn’t really put you in a good position going into the remaining days of a Test game,” the Barbadian all-rounder told reporters.
“The only way to get back into the game was to get new-ball wickets to make early inroads into the New Zealand top order and we struggled really to do that.
“I felt our bowlers tried. They really gave good effort. We didn’t help ourselves in the field sometimes with our fielding – obviously wickets off no-balls was a factor as well. I thought we batted well in the second innings but there was too much to do after the first innings display.”
Faced with a first innings deficit of 386 runs, West Indies rallied well on Sunday’s third day with opener Kraigg Brathwaite stroking an unbeaten 79 and rookie Shimron Hetmyer, 66.
Still 172 runs adrift at the start of the penultimate day, the Windies lost Brathwaite for 91 and Shai Hope for 37, after the stylish right-hander had resumed on 24.
Their dismissals triggered a slide that saw the last seven wickets tumble for 88 runs, leaving West Indies with their third innings loss in four straight defeats at the venue, in the last 18 years.
Holder said they had begun the day with high hopes and were never daunted by the task ahead of them.
“Never at any stage of the game we were out of it. We’ve been fighting throughout this last year and we showed a lot of fight in the last year as a side, and the way we clawed back in the second innings was particularly commendable,” he pointed out.
“To get 300-odd is still very good, but we wanted that probably in our first innings. We always speak about a good first innings total. It really sets the game up and we didn’t have that and we obviously faltered.
Holder said the Windies’ plan had been to play positively in order to first erase the deficit and then set about adding runs in order to set the Black Caps a target, but the early wickets had hurt them.
“We just wanted to be positive. There was no point being out there just to run down the game. There was too much time left in the game to try to save the game,” he explained.
“We needed to be positive and score, knock off the deficit – obviously that was our first priority – and the only way we could do that was by scoring. We wanted to be selective. I felt the guys were reasonably selective but just some soft dismissals [today] didn’t help the total.
“I was very, very confident [we could erase the deficit] but we needed a mainstay – Kraigg or Shai had to go on and get a big score. Unfortunately we lost Kraigg at that time and I guess we never really gathered momentum afterwards.”