Gibson pleased with 'total team effort'
North Sound, Antigua – Ottis Gibson called Sunday’s emphatic Test match victory a “total team effort” and lauded the West Indies players for their commitment and hard work over the last five days against New Zealand.
Speaking after his side’s massive nine-wicket win, the Windies Head Coach noted that his team knew from the start they had to play “tough and smart” cricket and keep their “fitness levels up” to beat the plucky Black Caps on a placid pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
In the end the home side triumphed, thanks mainly to superb knocks of 150 and 64 not out from Chris Gayle, 134 from Kieran Powell in the first innings; as well as five-wicket hauls from pacer Kemar Roach and spinner Sunil Narine, who won the Digicel Man-of-the-Match award.
The result was the first victory for West Indies in 11 Tests against New Zealand. The previous victory – 16 years ago at Kensington Oval in Barbados – came when Courtney Walsh’s side conquered Lee Germon’s tourists by 10 wickets.
“This win was a total team effort in every way. We did well in all departments. I’m happy for everyone involved. Before this match our last win against New Zealand was way back in 1996, so to come here and start the series with such an good result is pleasing. Everybody has the feel-good factor – the players are smiling and the fans are happy. We are heading in the right direction and you can see the team is progressing. This is healthy. This is what we need,” Gibson said.
“We looked good in this match. Chris Gayle was dominant with the bat and led us in the first innings. It was good to see the way he batted with Powell and set the platform for us. Powell played well and grew as a player. Narine got the wickets for us in the first innings and today Roach showed what a class act he is with the ball,” Gibson added.
“The way we executed our plans was one of the most pleasing aspects for me. With the ball we were patient when we had to and aggressive when we had to. An example of that was today when Roach bowled very well in the morning session to build the pressure and Ravi Rampaul was aggressive, and that also applied pressure on the batsmen. When we got the chance to push we had to be incisive and we did just that.
“We batted very well, led by that amazing opening stand between Gayle and Powell. That really set the tone for the innings. It was also good to see Fudadin get his first Test match half-century, Deonarine played really well and Sammy also got a good score to keep the momentum going. Once we put 500 runs on the board we realised we could win.”
The West Indies have dominated the visitors during this tour. They won the Digicel Twenty20 Series 2-0, and took the Digicel One-Day International Series 4-1. Gibson said his team is eagerly looking ahead to the next match in Jamaica.
“We are looking forward to Jamaica. We were there for the ODI Series earlier and we did very well. In this match Shiv didn’t get any (runs) and I know he will be hungry to get a score there. We will go to Jamaica, prepare well as we usually do, and look to apply the pressure again and look to make it two wins.”
The two teams will travel to Jamaica on Monday for the second and final Digicel Test match, which bowls off on Thursday at Sabina Park at 10 am (11 am Eastern Caribbean Time).