West Indies look to break los­ing run

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

SHAR­JAH, UAE (CMC): APTAIN JA­SON Holder is bank­ing on a coin toss to help set up an un­likely change in for­tune and close off a wretched tour of the United Arab Emi­rates when West Indies meet Pak­istan in the third and fi­nal Test match to­day.

Holder wants to bat first in the three Test series for the first time at the Shar­jah Cricket Sta­dium, des­per­ate for a face-sav­ing strat­egy that could con­jure a con­so­la­tion win on a win­less tour thus far.

The Caribbean side is seek­ing to avoid a clean sweep by the ram­pag­ing Pak­ista­nis af­ter los­ing the series and suf­fer­ing the same fate in the three­match ODI and three-match T20 series ear­lier.

“If we can bat first and per­haps put some runs on the board for a change and see where that takes us. We have been made to play catch up for most of these Test matches. We have done re­ally well in the sec­ond in­nings of each test match,” said Holder.

“Win­ning the toss could be cru­cial. We have bowled first in both Test matches. Maybe it’s time to change the dy­nam­ics a bit and take first knock on a fresh pit,” he con­tin­ued.

West Indies have pro­duced poor per­for­mances over­all, but bounced back coura­geously in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to push those matches into the fi­nal day although they were un­able to press hard enough to se­cure vic­tory.

Out­stand­ing per­for­mances from Dar­ren Bravo, Deven­dra Bishoo, Shan­non Gabriel and Jer­maine Black­wood have pow­ered their ef­forts, but wins con­tinue to elude Holder’s men.

CBar­ba­dian fast bowler Miguel Cum­mins, who took only one wicket in the first two Tests, is likely to be re­placed by promis­ing Lee­ward Is­lands pacer Alzarri Joseph. Wick­et­keeper Shane Dowrich is likely to re­turn for the fi­nal Test af­ter in­jury con­cerns.

“He is still pro­gress­ing nicely,” the Windies skip­per dis­closed.

“I think he is a lot bet­ter than he was in the be­gin­ning of the last test match, so we are still go­ing to give him some time up to to­mor­row and make an as­sess­ment then.”

HUN­GRY FOR A TEST WIN

West Indies are hun­gry for a Test win since their last vic­tory was by five wick­ets over Eng­land in Bar­ba­dos in May last year.

Re­ports from Shar­jah sug­gest that the pitch ap­pears flat and could of­fer help to the spin­ners to­wards the end of the Test.

Guyanese leg-spin­ner Deven­dra Bishoo could, there­fore, prove use­ful af­ter tak­ing ten wick­ets in Dubai and would be seek­ing to ex­tend his hero­ics to the fi­nal Test.

“The pitch here is nor­mally pretty good. I think the only ques­tion is whether it will hold to­gether or slow down like prob­a­bly Abu Dhabi pitch did or de­te­ri­o­rate like Dubai pitch,” said Holder in an in­ter­view with mem­bers of the me­dia af­ter a full train­ing ses­sion yes­ter­day.

“We played a warm-up game here and guys played two ODIs here as well... so ev­ery­body should be fa­mil­iar with these con­di­tions and we are con­fi­dent we will ex­e­cute our plans.”

First ball is 1 a.m. Ja­maica time. West Indies’ cap­tain Ja­son Holder (right) and Deven­dra Bishoo.

AP

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