Harper in two minds about drawn series
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Chairman of selectors, Roger Harper, believes the recent drawn series against Sri Lanka provided reason for continued optimism but rued the side's inability to nick a victory in the opening Test.
Both matches proved to be attritional affairs on flat tracks at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in North Sound, Antigua, with neither side possessing the extra fire power to claim 20 wickets.
West Indies looked to be in with a chance of forcing an outright result in the first Test when they dismissed Sri Lanka cheaply for 169 in their first innings and then carved out a lead of 102 runs ahead of the second innings.
But debutant Pathum Nissanka struck a century to power the visitors to 476 in their second innings, forcing West Indies to save the game after they were set an improbable victory target of 375.
"I think we really lost an opportunity in the first innings of the first Test," Harper said. "Having dismissed Sri Lanka for a relatively low total, we really needed to build a big lead and apply the pressure to Sri Lanka.
"Instead, we got a lead of a little over 100 and the pitch got very flat, and we got ourselves batting to save the game, rather than applying pressure to the Sri Lankans.
"I thought we lost an opportunity there not being able to build a big first innings lead in that first Test match, having bowled them out."
West Indies resumed the final day on 34 for one with uncertainty over their ability to survive three sessions but Nkrumah Bonner struck his maiden Test hundred to erase any doubt.
Harper said the ease with which the home side batted out the final day was an indication of their recent development.
The result meant West Indies went undefeated in the multi-format series after winning the Twenty20 series 2-1 and sweeping the three-match one-day international series.