HAMILTON, New Zealand – West Indies head coach, Stuart Law, is backing his side to shake of their lethargy and give an improved showing, in the second and final Test bowling off here Saturday at Seddon Park.
The visitors were a shadow of themselves in the opening Test in Wellington, slumping to an innings and 67-run defeat, after being undermined in the first innings by aggressive left-arm seamer Neil Wagner’s career-best seven-wicket haul.
Wagner bowled aggressively, using the short delivery effectively on a responsive surface, to turn over the Caribbean side for a paltry 134.
Law said, however, the Windies had made their plans for Wagner as exhibited in the second innings in Wellington, and was convinced they would shape up much better over the next few days here.
“We combated him [Wagner] very well in the second innings, I thought,” Law told reporters.
“At one stage there, we had him going at 11 runs an over. We sat down and worked out a plan – individual plans – on how to approach him.
“Some guys felt comfortable taking him on and some guys aren’t – it’s not so much going out there to take him down, but to be aggressive with your mindset, be it attacking or defensive, and execute.”
West Indies batsmen showed only glimpses of their quality, with opener Kraigg Brathwaite getting 24 and 91, rookie left-hander Shimron Hetmyer scoring a bold 66 in the second innings and left-handed opener Kieran Powell scoring 42 and 40.
In both innings, however, West Indies suffered bad collapses. In the first, they were well placed on 75 for one before losing their last nine wickets for 59 runs.
And in the second innings, they cruised to 231 for two on the fourth morning but lost their last eight wickets for 88 runs.
Law said it was important the batsmen adapted to the demands of the longer form of the game.
“We have to learn how to combat the mental pressures of Test cricket. The guys need to understand how to construct a Test innings consistently,” he said.
“You can’t just go out there and blast away, and expect that tactic to work every ball. An innings fluctuates as it develops, so they have to understand that.”
He added: “We are a developing team and when you are in development mode, you have good days and bad days.
“We put down day one in Wellington as one of those days that didn’t quite work out for us, but I think we got it right in the second innings. We are making good strides, but we have a lot more work to do.”
West Indies’ bowling in Wellington was also disappointing, failing to dismiss New Zealand who piled up 520 for nine declared in their first innings, behind centuries from debutant wicketkeeper Tom Blundell (107 not out ) and Colin de Grandhomme.
Seamer Kemar Roach, with three wickets, was the best on show, but the attack failed to be consistently penetrative.
Law called on his faster bowlers to step up their aggression and again urged his batsmen to set their sights on match-winning scores.
“Our bowling, I’d like to see us being a little more aggressive, we’ve got some good pace, we’ve got some quality swing and seam bowling,” the Australian stressed.
“Batting – we can get 40s and 60s, but they don’t win you games – 140s and 160s is where you want to be.”