Sports

Holder hails teamwork for series sweep

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, July 16, 2018

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After devastating Bangladesh with a 2-0 sweep in the second Test at Sabina Park on Saturday, West Indies are still celebrating what captain Jason Holder hopes is their first of many steps up the ICC rankings.

West Indies, for a second time in the series, got the job done on the third day, as they dispatched Bangladesh by 166 runs after the visitors could only muster 168 in their second innings, chasing 335 for victory.

The regional side had earlier crumbled to 129 in their second innings, after posting a first-innings total of 354 and restricting Bangladesh to 149.

Bangladesh's second-innings total was their highest in four innings, having once again failed to bat 50 overs throughout this series, after suffering a 219-run defeat in the first Test in Antigua last week.

“It's a great feeling. I thought the guys played some really great cricket throughout this entire series; we put our foot down in Antigua and really stamped our authority on the game up front. So credit to the bowlers — I think the bowlers put us in a really great position to win this series in Antigua,” Holder told journalists in a post-game interview.

West Indies' triumph in the second Test was built on solid first innings batting of 110 and 84 from opener Kraigg Brathwaite and young Shimron Hetmyer, respectively.

However, it was Holder, who starred for West Indies, grabbing career-best match figures of 11 for 103 while also contributing an unbeaten 33 to the first-innings total.

The 26-year-old skipper took 5-44 in the first innings and followed up with 6-59 in the second innings.

“From the first day to be 295 with wickets in hand was really good, but it was really unfortunate that we didn't come back and really press home the advantage the next day. But the first innings is always important and it is something that we always stress in the dressing room, so it is really good to see the guys come here at Sabina Park and play cricket like we did.

“We played as a team and we had support from everyone; as you can see throughout the series different players stood up and were accounted for. I must say credit to the Bangladeshis — I thought they pushed us in the series, but our guys were just better than them,” Holder explained.

With the series victory, their first at home since 2014, West Indies have now jumped into eighth position on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings, relegating Bangladesh to ninth.

“This means a lot. Like I said we have been playing some really good cricket but wasn't able to close out the series, and that is something in the back of all our minds.

“The last year and a half has been pretty good for this team, we have won a few Test matches and this is the second Test series that we have won as a group. So, I think we are heading in the right direction and with a little bit more hard work we can go further. A steady progression forward is all we ask for,” the Barbadian noted.

Meanwhile, Holder's counterpart Shakib Al Hasan, who took 6-33 — the best bowling figures by a Bangladeshi in an away Test — was the shining light for his team as he returned to top-score with 54.

The disappointment was obvious on the face of the 31-year-old skipper, who believes his team never really came to the fore.

“I was expecting it to be tough, but not this tough; obviously there is stuff that we need to sit down and work on and talk about, especially with our batting. As the Test match progressed I think we bowled well, especially our spinners, but we never showed the character and guts that we are known for in the batting department,” Al Hasan said in a post-game television interview.

“I always tell my team that we have the chance to come back like we have done over the past three, four years. But credit goes to the West Indies, they made us play and we were not good enough on the park.

“It is very disappointing. We were expecting a better performance but that didn't happen and we are going to move on to white-ball cricket. We have been doing really well in that format so let's hope for the best,” he added.

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