We can still win says Windies coach
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — West Indies Head Coach Ottis Gibson said he expected the first Digicel Test to go down to the wire and felt his side could still come out on top. West Indies had a tough fourth day on Tuesday and ended with an overall lead of 114 with five second innings wickets standing.
Looking ahead to Wednesday’s final day, Gibson said his players still had confidence and a target of “around 200” could provide an intriguing end to the match on what is a “challenging” batting surface at Kensington Oval.
“We had the best part of the first three days, but [day four] was a tough day at the office,” he said. “We managed to hang in there and we ended with 114 on the board. We will have to work hard on the final day. It has been a tough day and all is not lost.
“If we can put another 100 with what we have, it will make for a very good finish. We have seen how difficult it is to score on this pitch, so chasing 200 and over could be a good challenge for them.
“Winning has always been our intention. We had a couple of bad hours [on day four], but that will not change the way we will go about the game. We will continue to go about the game in a positive way and we will look for a positive result.”
West Indies controlled the match for the first three days, but their fortunes changed dramatically, as Australia’s tail allowed them to declare at 406-9 – conceding a first innings lead of 43. The West Indies then slipped to 17-4 in the second innings, but made a recovery to close at 71-5.
Narsingh Deonarine has played solidly on 20 not out off 94 balls and will carry the fight on the final day. He added 50 for the fifth wicket with fellow left-hander Darren Bravo, who fell for 32 late in the day.
“[Wednesday] will be a very interesting day,” said Gibson. “We have to stay positive. We dominated three days of a five-day contest, but at the end of the day, it is a five-day contest and one bad day doesn’t negate the three days we had. The final day can swing either way and we know we can set them a tough target.”
For Australia, Ryan Harris made a Test-best score of 68 and shared an unbroken, last-wicket stand of 77 with Nathan Lyon. Ben Hilfenhaus then grabbed three early wickets, as West Indies got off to a poor start.
“We will come out fighting,” said Gibson. “I keep saying to the guys this is why it’s called Test cricket ... It’s tough on you mentally and tough on you physically. Everybody is excited about [Wednesday] and looking ahead to it. We believe that if we can get a few wickets early, as they did when we batted, we could still make it happen as well.”