Maybe, they believed that by batting first, using their strength first, they could play India out of the game. Maybe they thought, why not put runs on the board and put pressure on the Indian team.
But given the pitch, this match was about leading the way with the ball, and then having your batsmen take the match to the end, like India did.
As West Indies batted first, I felt the urgency wasn’t there in terms of rotating the strike and putting pressure on the Indian bowlers. That is very important in today’s international cricket and it is vital to take your chances.
But look at the manner in which Marlon Samuels
got out. Chris Gayle
was at fault for watching the ball for too long. If the catch has been dropped, the next best thing is to get a run off it. The West Indies was sleeping at such vital moments in the game and that is what cost them dearly.
After the run-out, I think Gayle should have batted with more responsibility. When Samuels was out in that fashion, heads would have dropped in the West Indies’ dressing room, and you want someone like Gayle to carry on at that point. He was looking good for a while, but at that juncture in the game, you have got to manage your innings according to conditions and match situation. You need to see how you pull or hook the ball especially since it was bouncing high on that Perth pitch.
You don’t need Gayle getting out at the time, which is what happened. And we lost quite a few wickets in the same manner after that.
After the top-order was struggling at 35 for four, I would have loved to see better shot selection from the remaining batsmen. Andre Russell
is a magnificent hitter of the ball, but at the time, repair work was needed, like what Jason Holder
did late in the innings. With his well-timed half-century, he was able to take the team to a competitive total in the end. Darren Sammy
too batted well, for he always puts his heart into the game.
The other batsmen too needed to assess what sort of total they could have defended on a pitch like that and should have batted accordingly. They were facing problems from the Indian bowlers and knew how the track was behaving. So, they could have assessed what was needed in seaming and bouncy conditions, and should have tried to achieve it with minimum chances. In the end, their score of 183 was, at least, 20-30 runs short of what they would have liked. Ideally, a score of 230 runs would have been enough on that WACA pitch.
However, I would like to give credit to the West Indies bowlers’ here. They have certainly improved and did well in the manner they went about defending a small target. They knew what they wanted to get done on a pitch like that and hit all the right areas. Jerome Taylor
increasingly looks the part of this team’s strike bowler. Hence, I was surprised that he didn’t get to bowl the last two overs remaining in his quota. West Indies needed to press the issue at that time. Of course, we need to trust the judgment of the captain at times, and it was perhaps inexperience on Holder’s part. Even then, there is enough experience in that dressing room as well as in the team management. It’s in such moments that the backroom staff needs to help and give advice.