Captains eager for second Test

West
Indies captain Chris Gayle is still upbeat that his team can challenge South
Africa in the remaining matches in the Digicel Test Series. After Sunday’s
defeat by 163 runs in the first Digicel Test at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad,
Gayle said the batting needed to come up scratch when the series moved on to St
Kitts and Barbados.

“We
batted poorly in the first innings and that actually cost us the game very
quickly,” Gayle said. “We were up against quality bowlers and we knew it would
not be easy. They got the better of us. We batted poorly in the first innings
and that caused us the game. We needed to get more runs on the board in the
first innings to be more competitive.”

In
the first innings the Windies made just 102 after bowling out the Proteas for
352. They did much better in the second innings with Gayle making an aggressive
73 in a total of 293. There were also good batting performances from Dwayne
Bravo, who made 49, and some strong lower-order hitting from Sulieman Benn (42)
and Shane Shillingford (27). For Gayle those numbers are not good enough in the
long run.

“We
are in the rebuilding process and we asked a couple of batsmen to bat at
positions they are not accustomed to, but it is something in cricket and, as
batsmen, whenever you get a chance you have to make the best use of it,” Gayle
said. “But we are not going to use it as an excuse. We have to try and make the
necessary adjustments for the next Test match.”

Meanwhile
South Africa’s captain Graeme Smith said he was very happy with his team’s
all-around efforts. Smith in particular hailed the bowling performances of
Man-of-Match Dale Steyn and tall pacer Morne Morkel who had 14 wickets between
them (eight for Steyn and six for Morkel).

“Every
captain around the world who has enjoyed success has had an outstanding fast
bowler,” Smith said. “Dale has been with me since he was very young and I have
watched him grow as a cricketer and as a person. He has put in some very good
spells for us both with the old ball and the new ball. The other bonus that we
have is that Morne is starting to support him more and more. As a pair they are
starting to become very successful together and that is good.”

Gayle
meanwhile says the players will now focus all their energies on getting ready
for the second Digicel Test at the Warner Park in St Kitts, which starts on
Friday June 18 and the third Digicel Test which bowls of at Kensington Oval in
Barbados on Saturday, June 26.

“We
are now looking forward to the second Test in St Kitts where we know we have to
look for a victory and stay in the series. As I said before the start, it won’t
be easy for us, the South Africans are an experienced team and they are playing
well at the moment, but we have to believe in ourselves and play good, hard
cricket.”