A-class show by West Indies A
Gros Islet, St Lucia — There was no stopping West Indies A team on Tuesday as they completed an emphatic 10-wicket win over India A at Beausejour Cricket Ground, to take the three-match Digicel ‘Test’ Series 2-1.
West Indies were led by fast bowler Kevin McClean who sliced through the visitors’ strong batting line-up with five wickets for 57 runs on the final morning to dismiss India A for 202 in the second innings.
The home side then knocked off the required 97 runs in under 18 overs without losing a wicket. Kieran Powell played with great aplomb to make a boundary-studded 56 not out off 48 balls. This followed up his 139 in the first innings and he won the Man-of-the-Match award.
Coach Hendy Springer praised his young team for their victory on Tuesday. He said it characterized the hard work put in by the players and demonstrated the teamwork which saw them claw their way back from 1-0 down to win the three-match rubber.
“I am very, very happy. We are all very happy because we can now celebrate our achievements. The players can get the rewards from their efforts and the people who support West Indies cricket also have something to celebrate. We did a number of good things in the last three weeks, and one very good thing was winning,” said Springer, who has been in charge of the A Team programme for the last three years.
“If you look at where we came from, before the first match a lot people put their money on India A to beat us, but we played with quality and common sense to win two matches by significant margins. We lost by two wickets in the first match but we saw the signs of progress and we progressed nicely.”
West Indies lost the first match by two wickets at Kensington Oval in Barbados. They rebounded with a massive 125-run win at Arnos Vale, St Vincent and clinched the series with a superb allround performance at Beausejour.
The West Indies used four seam bowlers in the series and each took a five-wicket haul. The stand-out was left-arm pacer Delorn Johnson, who was the leading wicket-taker with 17 wickets at 13.29 runs apiece. He was named Man-of-the-Series.
Big fast bowler Jason Holder took 5-55 in Barbados; Jonathan Carter also had 5-63 with his brisk medium-pace in Barbados; and McClean was excellent with 5-57 on Tuesday. The spinners, Veersammy Permaul and Devendra Bishoo, also contributed with captain Permaul taking nine wickets in the win in St Vincent.
“The bowlers were brilliant throughout the entire series and worked overtime for us. India has a very strong batting line-up and they failed to reach 300 runs in six innings, a sign that we were well prepared and very disciplined as a bowling group,” Springer said.
“Johnson got us an early breakthrough in every innings and that put pressure on the other batsmen. He was always ‘at them’ with the new ball and the old ball and asked questions of them every time. Carter was a revelation. He is a middle-order batsman and part-time wicket-keeper who was asked to do a job with the ball and he did it manfully. His 10 wickets were a huge bonus.”
Springer added: “Most of the players in this team were part of the Sagicor High Performance Centre, so we have seen the progress they have made during that period there, and now that they have been promoted to the West Indies A Team.
“We must never lose sight of the main purpose of the A Team programme and that is the development of players for the next step in international cricket. Once the players put in the work on the field and demonstrate that desire, the next stage is to show the ability to win and taking advantage when winning situations present themselves.”
The two teams travel to Trinidad on Wednesday as they prepare for the two-match Digicel T20 Series. The matches will be on Saturday and Sunday at Queen’s Park Oval. First ball is 6:30 pm (5:30 pm Jamaica Time).