WEST INDIES coach Phil Simmons praised the effort of his batsmen following the Test series against Sri Lanka. He said the West Indies batsmen are starting to pull their weight after the bowlers carried the team for years.
The two-match series ended in a 0-0 draw with both matches being played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.
Five West Indies batsmen ended with an average of over 50 – captain Kraigg Brathwaite, Kyle Mayers, Nkrumah Bonner, Jason Holder and Rahkeem Cornwall.
Brathwaite and Bonner both cracked centuries during the series. There were also two half-centuries each from Mayers and Cornwall and one apiece from Holder and Brathwaite.
Speaking to Cricket West Indies media, Simmons said the highlight in the series was batting to save the first Test match on the final day. Chasing an improbable 375 for victory, West Indies closed on 236/4 with Bonner leading the way with an unbeaten 113.
“The biggest takeaway is we could bat on a fifth-day pitch to save a game, to draw a Test match. It is something that we have not done for awhile and we needed to make sure we were able to do it. I think that is the biggest thing in this (series) and then the attitude of the team keeps growing, the attitude of guys wanting to make runs, wanting to score hundreds. It was good to see the captain getting a hundred after a long, barren period.”
Simmons said the batsmen provided valuable support to the bowlers.
“I think the important thing now is that everybody is looking to occupy the crease, people are looking to bat for long periods…the batting has stood up in the last four Test matches and this is the great thing because before that the bowling was carrying us.”
Simmons highlighted the batting contributions of Cornwall and Alzarri Joseph at the end of innings during the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh series.
Prior to the Sri Lanka series West Indies defeated Bangladesh 2-0 in a two-match Test series in Bangladesh.
Speaking more about the batting, Simmons said, “In every series you are not going to get every batsman firing. One series you will get two or three (and in) the next series you might get a different two or three. The important thing is that the team is batting as a team and every Test match somebody is standing up, every Test match somebody is looking to get a hundred or a big score and we’ve been graced with that in the last four Test matches…the batting is coming to the foe now.”
Opener John Campbell and vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood struggled during the series scoring 68 runs and 42 runs respectively.
Simmons said the wickets in the Caribbean need to improve.
“I think we, from a country standpoint, need to get better wickets where we could have Test matches that would create a result. Even if we had lost a Test match after it’s gone to the fifth day you will still think we have done well to get to the fifth day.”