Opting to bat first after winning the toss on a pitch which offered pace and bounce, West Indies batsmen could not deal with the probing bowling from the Indians and collapsed on 196 in the first innings at Sabina Park.
The only positive for the hosts was Jermaine Blackwood’s thrilling counter-attack to cruise to a run-a-ball 62 in an attempt to stabilize the innings. Not surprisingly, the attacking batsman backed his daring stroke-play and felt that the visitors’ bowling unit was extremely difficult to handle.
Blackwood believed, “This attack is a world class attack and you have the Test No.1 bowler Ashwin and he is very experienced and very good bowler. The seamers are very consistent with their line and length and they are bowling to a plan.”
He added, “So they are playing on our minds. So as batsmen we have to go and counter that and try to go against that plan, assess conditions and score runs at the same time. So this is a very, very good attack.”
Despite the prevailing public sentiment, the right-hander defended Jason Holder’s decision at the toss and claimed, “Normally at Sabina park, the wicket is going to have a little bit in it for the pace bowlers for a couple hours. This track is different and has some grass so they will get assistance right through the match for pace bowlers.
“It wasn't a wrong decision to bat first but we just didn't bat for a long period. I guess next time we will have to do that.“
“No, we weren't in any hurry. But you cannot just go there and keep losing wickets and not score runs. So you have to go there with a positive mindset and any scoring opportunity that comes your way you need to take it. So that's what I did today.”
On the contrasting methods of operation between himself and Marlon Samuels, Blackwood revealed that he had a discussion in the middle with his senior partner and wanted to seize on scoring opportunities.
The 24-year old quipped, “When I went out, he was just giving me a lot of advice about staying positive and running well between the wickets – try to score runs and wear down the bowlers. As scoring chances came, I played my shots.”
With India’s openers showing that the surface had no demons on it, West Indies have an uphill battle in the remaining days of the match.Published 31 Jul 2016, 20:36 IST