Stuart Law, the West Indies coach, has expressed disappointment with the pitch curated for the second Test against Pakistan at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, on which his team registered a series-leveling 106-run win on Thursday (May 4). Law said the pitch suited more to the Pakistan bowlers than the home side and left him “heartbroken” for his pace bowlers. He added the convincing victory was a result of the hard work put in by the bowlers despite conditions being more favorable to the opposition
“I wasn’t expecting what we turned up to see,” Law said. “If we can’t get a good coverage of grass in a tropical climate, there is something wrong. It wasn’t the sort of pitch we would have liked, I know that Pakistan were licking their lips when they saw it because it was a bit like a Pakistani pitch.
“Day two when we were bowling, bouncers were landing five metres short of the keeper. We’ve got boys who bowl 90 miles an hour, and to see the ball do that is heartbreaking, particularly on day two. You expect it on day four, day five, no problem. But to get through the game the way we did, in those conditions, which suited the opposition more so, very proud of the effort.”
A belligerent five-wicket haul from Shannon Gabriel dismantled Pakistan batting line-up on a day five pitch that showed signs of deterioration and offered variable bounce. Chasing a modest 188 for victory, the visitors bundled out for just 81 to hand West Indies a memorable win at their stronghold.
Law was particularly full of praise for Gabriel and applauded his behind the scene efforts to improve his game.
“He just improves every time he goes out there. Not [just] his effort on the field, that’s unquestionable, but behind the scenes, which people don’t see. He goes to lengths to see he’s right and in perfect physical condition every time he goes out on the field.” he said.
“He has had injury problems, but physio CJ Clarke is working tirelessly with him. Even away from the Test-match scene, he gets in early, works hard with him. And Shannon is very diligent with his preparation. When you’ve got a guy who can bowl 90+, you want to make sure you’re looking after him, and then he produces like he did this Test, that was just outstanding work.”
The West Indies coach also conceded that his team doesn’t have wealth of experience under their belt, but said improvement would only come with playing more Test matches in future.
“They’ve got the talent, that’s for sure. It’s one thing having talent, but when you couple that with experience, you become a formidable opponent. At the moment there’s not a lot of experience in our dressing room.
“The experience is coming. We’ve seen in difficult conditions, playing against the best legspinner in the world [we won]. He got seven wickets but a lot of boys coped with him pretty well. To keep him out for as long as we did, I think [it] shows that we are learning.” he said.
“From the first Test match we changed a few technical things with our batsmen, it seemed to work for the right handers. The work ethic…if someone says the West Indies boys don’t work hard enough, they don’t know what they’re talking about. The boys are pretty proud of their effort, leading up to this Test match and during it, to strive for that perfect game, to strive for errors to be eradicated… We’re going in the right direction.”
The series is now leveled at 1-all, with the decider Test scheduled in Dominica from Wednesday (May 10).