Cricket: Windies told to 'man up'

By David Leggat

Tourists' coach has strong message for players who had `lack of fight' in innings defeat at Basin Reserve.

New Zealand players celebrate as lefthander Darren Bravo of the West Indies leaves the field after being dismissed. Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand players celebrate as lefthander Darren Bravo of the West Indies leaves the field after being dismissed. Photo / Getty Images

The West Indies will have strong words from coach Ottis Gibson ringing in their ears as they chase a series-levelling test win in Hamilton this week.

New Zealand's rousing innings and 73-run win at the Basin Reserve has given them the initiative. The West Indies have a pile of issues to fix in the next three days.

"Sometimes when things are going wrong, everything goes wrong at the same time," Gibson, a two-test, 15-ODI seamer for the West Indies in the 1990s, said.

"We've always been a nation of fighters, our backs are against the wall and we just have to ride it out. We just have to man up and face the challenge that New Zealand has presented to us."

Gibson admitted words like "embarrassment" were floating about the West Indies dressing room after the Basin Reserve shellacking.

"Lack of fight was mentioned. Those are things you don't want to be hearing too often in your dressing room and we haven't heard that too often recently.

"We have played some pretty good cricket. India [a 2-0 test drubbing en route to New Zealand] was tough for us, but we come here and we are making it tough for ourselves.

"New Zealand are playing well but we're not standing up to what they're offering. That's the disappointing thing."

Trent Boult's top-class swing bowling exposed the West Indian batting; Ross Taylor has led a batting group who have cashed in on some ropey seam bowling.

A major case of regrouping is needed from the tourists. Three days may not be long enough.

"We have been inconsistent with everything we have done," Gibson said. "As a bowling group we haven't stuck to plans for long enough and as a batting group we aren't riding out the good periods when New Zealand are on top. All it requires is a bit of application and someone to dig in.

"Ride out that tough period then understand it will get a bit easier.

"We talk about getting bowlers into their second and third spells then capitalising but we are losing wickets often in first spells."

There's no doubt the West Indies have class batsmen, notably lefthanders Darren Bravo and Shiv Chanderpaul, two men at opposite ends of their careers, and Marlon Samuels. They need to fire up and have others bat around them.

A glance at the West Indies bowlers' pitch maps - which show where they are landing the ball - would reveal an alarming inability to hit the areas most likely to trouble New Zealand's batsmen.

As for the hosts, Taylor is heading a batting group in reasonable shape. Both openers, Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford, were undone early in Wellington, but Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson, captain Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling have chipped in.

Taylor - aiming to join Mark Burgess as the only New Zealander to score hundreds in three successive tests in Hamilton - earned high praise from coach Mike Hesson.

"He's incredibly calm at the crease. To get 200 in Dunedin and the tempo he stayed at the whole innings was a master class really," Hesson said.

"He backed it up in completely different conditions [in Wellington], but still kept the same tempo and never went outside his game plan at any stage till right at the end.

"He's playing superbly, has his routines he sticks to and long may it continue."

- NZ Herald

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