West Indies captain Jason Holder knows his team needs a much stronger batting performance in St Kitts than during their two tri-series matches in Guyana earlier this month. The series has moved on from the sluggish Providence Stadium pitch to the harder surface at Warner Park, which combined with the short boundaries makes it a more attractive ground for batsmen.
Australia managed to post 288 for 6 at Warner Park on Saturday, enough for victory over South Africa, and West Indies get their first opportunity at the venue when they take on Australia on Monday. Holder said regardless of the change in conditions, his batting order needed to lift after being skittled for 116 by Australia in Guyana.
“We didn’t bat well in the last game in Guyana,” Holder said. “We won the first game probably in the 48th over chasing 180. I think it’s obvious that we need to put some more runs on the board. This pitch here will be a lot better than Guyana in terms of strokeplay.
“We saw the game yesterday and it looked like a pretty easy pace and pretty easy going for the batsmen. It’s important for the top four to bat as big as possible, give us a good solid foundation for our middle order to come in and capitalise.”
West Indies have won four and lost four from eight ODIs in St Kitts since the ground hosted its first match 10 years ago. Last time they played there Denesh Ramdin slammed 169 off 121 balls and Darren Bravo scored 124 in what became a comfortable win over Bangladesh.
“Traditionally playing here in St Kitts it tends to get a little slow,” Holder said. “It’s always been a slow track, but I guess the dimensions of the ground make it easier to hit the ball over the top and score freely. But having said that it could be a bit difficult, especially when the slow bowlers are on in the middle overs, to get the ball off the square.
“I think we can use that to our favour. We’ve got two good spinners at the moment and there could be a possibility of playing three, you never know. I think it’s important we capitalise when the ball gets softer, as the Australians and South Africans pointed out, we try to peg back the scoring and keep it very tight.”
Sunil Narine has been the most dangerous bowler in the series so far, with eight wickets from West Indies’ two matches, and Sulieman Benn has also proven difficult to get away. Offspinner Ashley Nurse is also in the squad as a third slow-bowling option.
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