Holder urges batsmen to convert starts

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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GROS ISLET, St Lucia (CMC) — Captain Jason Holder has warned his batsmen about their failure to convert starts into hundreds, as West Indies seek to improve their batting even further in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

In the opening Test at Queen's Park Oval last week, Shai Hope (44), Holder (40), Roston Chase (38) and Kieran Powell (38) all got in but it was only wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich with 125, at number six, who managed to carry on to three figures.

“That is something we spoke about after the first Test match,” Holder said here yesterday.

“Quite a few of our batsmen got starts but none really kicked on. We really don't want that to be a trend starting inside the dressing room, so it is something we need to address now.

“It was still good to see they can actually get starts. It's just a matter of converting a few more of these starts and making a big first innings total. Having said that, we did get to a reasonable first innings total in excess of 400 runs which is remarkable.

“It's just about maintaining that throughout the series. We always speak about putting up a good first innings total and it's good to see we got 400 runs in the first innings of the last Test match.”

West Indies amassed 414 for eight declared in their first innings, and then knocked over Sri Lanka cheaply for 185 and 226, to come away with a crushing 226-run victory, with nearly two sessions to spare.

And though both the pace and spin attack proved incisive, Holder said there was room for improvement in the bowling department as well.
“In the first innings we had quite a few extras with many of them being five wides and four byes and those kinds of things so we just want to eliminate that,” the all-rounder pointed out.

“I always speak about building pressure. The best way to get wickets is by applying pressure from both ends. It can't be an individual effort where one bowler is building pressure and somebody is leaking it from the next end. It doesn't really create a good atmosphere in what we're looking to do as a bowling unit.

“Hopefully our bowlers can continue to work in tandem. I felt the spinners went really well in the last Test match as well so if need be, in these conditions, hopefully our spinners can come in and build pressure as well.”

West Indies entered the last Test with four seamers and a specialist spinner in leg-break bowler Devendra Bishoo, and with part-time off-spinner Roston Chase as support.
And Holder believes the combination has given Windies a well-balanced attack going forward.

“We always speak about getting 20 wickets and I think the bowling combination that we have give us variety,” Holder noted.

“We've got four seamers and two front-line spinners and obviously Kraigg (Brathwaite) who can bowl a few overs as well. So I guess we've got the variety there and it's great to see that the guys can put their hands up on any given occasion and do the job for the team.”
The second Test bowls off today at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground.

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