Test captain Jason Holder has hailed West Indies’ second innings performance and the encouraging debuts by wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva and fast bowler Chemar Holder but says the Caribbean side were “still not good enough”, following their second successive innings defeat to New Zealand on Monday.
West Indies were dismissed for 317 in their second innings on the final day of the second Test at the Basin Reserve, marking the first time in four innings of the two-Test series they had managed to pass 250.
Under-pressure opener John Campbell top-scored with 68 while Da Silva, replacing the first-choice gloveman Shane Dowrich who left the tour for personal reasons, struck 57.
And with Chemar Holder impressing with a couple of wickets, Holder said those performances were the only silver lining from an otherwise disappointing outing.
“[We were] good in patches. Obviously, I thought our bowlers were outstanding, just tough we didn’t take our opportunities when they came,” Holder told a media conference on Monday.
“Then when we batted in the first innings we just didn’t set up the game well. The pitch was a really good pitch but I was really really happy to see the fight in the second innings.
“The way John Campbell went about it, I gave him that support because I thought he was shaping to put something together quite big for us and it just wasn’t coming off but it was good to see him knuckle down again and go through his same processes and get a score.
“We would’ve liked him to go on a bit longer but still pleased with the way he went out and applied himself.”
He continued: “Likewise Joshua Da Silva in the second innings. I was really really pleased with both debutants actually – I thought Joshua was outstanding and Chemar Holder.”
West Indies were forced into two changes following the first Test in Hamilton after veteran seamer Kemar Roach – the spearhead of the attack – returned home to Barbados due to the death of his father while Dowrich, who was battling injury, also ended his tour prematurely.
Chemar Holder bowled impressively to claim two wickets in New Zealand’s first innings of 460 while Da Silva was tidy behind the stumps as well as helping to prop up the Windies second innings. He posted an 82-run, seventh-wicket partnership with skipper Holder (61), before adding a further 30 for the eighth with Alzarri Joseph (24) and 25 for the ninth with Chemar Holder (13 not out).
When Da Silva arrived at the crease with West Indies deep in trouble on 170 for six late on the third day, Holder said he quickly realized the 22-year-old was prepared to fight for West Indies.
“I’m really proud of the way he shaped up,” the 29-year-old all-rounder said.
“What was most impressive for me is when he joined me I could see he was up for the challenge … every time I looked into his eyes I could see he was up for it and that was something that was pleasing to see.
“We always say in our dressing room you can only survive in Test cricket if you have that heart. You can have the world of ability, you can have the world of talent but if you don’t have that grit and that heart, you will never survive at this level and I saw that definitely, not only from Joshua but Chemar as well too.
“On that first day [Chemar] put up his hand and said ‘yes skipper, I’ll run into the wind for you’. To see both Alzarri (Joseph) and Chemar put their hands up to run through that wind was outstanding, and I think they’ve been really really good on this tour.”
Despite the brought sparks, West Indies lost the second Test by an innings and 12 runs before lunch to follow up their innings and a 134-run drubbing in the first Test in Hamilton, also before lunch on the fourth day.
And Holder conceded his side had lacked the consistency expected of them.
“We were good in patches but still not good enough,” he admitted.
“We’ve just not been consistent over a period of time. We’ve done a lot of great things but we just have not been able to string it together, more often than not.
“New Zealand is a very good team in their backyard. They do it against most if not all the opposition teams that come over here to play. Not making an excuse but they’re very good in their conditions.
“What I do expect, however, from this group is a little bit more consistency than we have been giving in the recent past. We’ve just got to be better.”