Confident Windies will be tougher than ever

Confident Windies will be tougher than ever

We expect the West Indies to come even harder at us in the third Test starting on Thursday than they did in their victory in Port of Spain.

The West Indies are a team that are good frontrunners and it’s a shame they’ve been able to gain some momentum following the Trinidad Test. They thoroughly deserved the win, and their seam bowling in particular has been exceptional throughout the series. We’ve got to counteract that and I believe we’ve got the skills to do it.

It’s been important that we’ve been able to refresh both the body and the mind here in Barbados. The players had two days off where they played golf, read a book or lay on the beach. It meant everyone was fresh when we got back to training yesterday after two back-to-back Tests.

There were a number of learnings from the loss in Trinidad. From a batting point of view we built a lot of half partnerships that we didn’t turn into significant ones. That’s difficult to do but something we’ve really nailed over the last seven or eight Tests. So it’s simply reinforcing what we’ve done well, making sure we continue to do it and don’t take anything for granted.

With the ball, we weren’t quite as consistent as we’d like for long enough periods.

One element I was extremely proud of was the way we fought our way back into the match. Kiwis like to be known as scrappers, that we care, that we fight and we put everything on the line. That’s certainly what we showed and need to continue to show. 

We’ve had our first look at the Kensington Oval pitch and it doesn’t appear to have a lot of life in it but history suggests it will have a bit of pace and bounce for both the seamers and the spinners. Just because it doesn’t have grass on it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a dead pitch as it would suggest with New Zealand soils.
Again we’ve had plenty of discussion over our starting XI and that’s exactly what you want within your squad – real competition.

While we don’t talk about it a lot, we all know what a huge opportunity this Test is. This week marked the anniversary of the 2002 victory in Bridgetown – the first by a BLACKCAPS team in the Caribbean. Two of our coaching staff, Shane Bond and Craig McMillan, were part of that team and have fond memories.

Our guys are aware of the history and we’re fully aware that the 2002 victory was a great achievement by a very fine side. We would love to emulate that but understand there’s plenty of work ahead over the coming week to achieve something that special.

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