West Indies captain Jason Holder has heaped praise on his side especially his bowlers after they recorded an entertaining four-wicket win over England in the First Test at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl.
West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel was named Player of the Match for his part in dismissing the English twice, taking nine wickets for the match, with figures of 4-62 and 5-75.
Gabriel took the final four wickets of England’s second innings after stand-in skipper Ben Stokes (46) and Zak Crawley (76) had combined to arrest the momentum in England’s favour on day four.
“Yesterday’s effort was by far the best effort I’ve seen from this group,” Holder said, reflecting on day four.
“Not only the bowlers - the fielders kept running round, getting through the overs, and we all kept our energy up right throughout the day.”
England had been bowled out for 204 after winning the toss, setting up the match for the visitors who posted 318 in reply, to build a good lead.
Crawley and Stokes’ rearguard offered the hosts hope, particularly 3-249 when England had established a 135-run lead with seven wickets in hand, but the West Indies showed great fight to reclaim control of the contest.
England didn’t help themselves in defending 200, with numerous dropped catches and a missed run out.
“It was a long hard toil and a hard-fought day for West Indies, and a day that definitely went in our favour at the back end,” Holder said.
“The reason I say that it was the best day for me is down to the fact that every single time I asked for effort from those bowlers, no one said: ‘no, I can’t, I’m too tired’. They just all kept running in.”
Stokes, who was standing in for the absent Joe Root who was with his wife for the birth of their second child, said he had no regrets about batting first.
“We weren’t ruthless enough,” the all-rounder said.
“A basic of Test match cricket is getting big first-innings runs. The positive from it is we’ve got a young lad in Zak Crawley who showed the potential of someone who can be around for a long time.”