West Indies are not considered the strongest teams in Test cricket. Franchises and T20 teams across the world make a beeline for their top cricketers. But when it comes to Test cricket, the focus moves away from West Indies cricket.
Not a competitive Test team you say? Well if you look at their record since 2016, the West Indies have registered some highly impressive wins.
They have defeated Pakistan twice – by five wickets in Sharjah in 2016 and 106 runs in Barbados in 2017. There was a five-wicket win over England in Leeds 2017 as well. And that was a first-choice fully fit England side.
When the Sri Lankans entered the three-Test series against the Windies, they might have hoped for some positive results. After all, they had blanked Pakistan 2-0 in the UAE last year before registering a thumping 215 run win in Bangladesh. They even managed to draw two Tests in India in November and December.
But this Windies team led by Jason Holder was not going to to roll over. The Sri Lankans were delivered a stunning blow in the first Test in Port of Spain as the hosts sailed to a 226-run win.
West Indies’ pace attack of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins and Holder did not concede an inch as the Lankans were shot out for 185 and 226.
And as the second Test between the two sides begins in St Lucia on Thursday, the Windies will be even more confident of securing a series win in the three-match series.
Sri Lanka all-rounder Angelo Mathews and fast bowler Lahiru Gamage have returned home, adding to the visitors’ woes. Gamage fractured a finger while batting in the first Test while Mathews withdrew due to a “personal reason”.
With the Lankans already missing opener Dimuth Karunaratne due to a finger injury, the West Indies will be even more aggressive as not only have the visitors lost a premier batsman in Mathews, their bowling have been weakened considerably.
If West Indies do manage to taste success, it will be a moment to cherish in the country that has ‘lost’ more players to T20 franchise cricket than any other country. (Courtesy Sport 360)