Big effort needed on final day, Holder says
NORTH SOUND – World No.1 all-rounder Jason Holder said West Indies will need to give a big effort on the final day to push for victory over Sri Lanka in the second Test in Antigua.
Holder said there was little assistance for the pacers from the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS) pitch and it will be hard work for them on Friday, after the Windies set the Sri Lankans 377 for victory.
“It will take a lot of hard yards, but we’re up for it, everybody is up for it,” he said in a TV interview at the close on the penultimate day.
“If we can remain fresh in short bursts, give everything we’ve got in each burst, [we will do well]. All the captain can ask of us is a big effort. We’ve just got to give a big effort, keep the pitch out of our minds as much as possible and just give a really big effort.”
West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite hit the top score of 85, Holder supported with an unbeaten 71 and left-hander Kyle Mayers made a typically enterprising 55 that set up the hosts for a second innings total of 280 for four declared.
West Indies gave themselves about 40 minutes before the close to get started on their charge for victory, but Lahiru Thirimanne, not out on 17, and his captain Dimuth Karunaratne, not out on 11, stoutly resisted to carry the Sri Lankans to 29 without loss when stumps were drawn.
“The pitch is not the most conducive for faster bowlers; you’ve got to put something in it,” Holder said.
“We’ve got to be smart as well. I think field placing will be very, very crucial – in-and-out fields, playing with the batsmen’s minds a bit and just being patient.”
He said: “We’re in a really good position and it will be very, very difficult for them to chase the runs. We’ve got one foot down and it’s a matter for us to be really, really smart.
“We’ve really got to come (in the) morning and give a really big effort. I think the morning session is ver,y very crucial. If we can break the back of their batting – we’ve got (Suranga) Lakmal coming at seven, so it’s hopeful for us. It’s just a matter for us to put the hard yards in early and put them under some pressure.”
The SVRS pitch has not deteriorated significantly, but there were signs that the spinners maybe able to get turn from the surface to make the visitors’ battle for survival intriguing.
“Jimmy (Rahkeem Cornwall) has a very important role to play,” Holder said. “The pitch is obviously worn. We saw a little bit of variable bounce so far in this game, so I think that should help us a lot.
“He’s got a bag of tricks too. He’s very familiar with the surface here and hopefully he can extract whatever is left there to get us some wickets.”