BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – West Indies captain Jason Holder has praised the focus and commitment of his embattled side following their crushing win over Pakistan here Thursday, and has urged them to maintain the intensity heading into next week's decisive Test at Windsor Park.
Entering the Kensington Oval contest on the back of a seven-wicket defeat in the opening Test at Sabina Park two weeks ago, West Indies turned the tables on Pakistan to level the three-match series with a 106-win on the final day here.
“We had to win the game to keep the series alive. Everybody knew what was at stake and we wanted to win the game,” Holder told a media conference here.
“We wanted to win the series and start making strides in the right direction, so everybody knew the importance of the game and it was all about giving a big effort. I told the guys to leave everything out on the park.
“We highlighted a few areas before this game that we wanted to touch on and I feel as though we have really touched them and hit them. It's just a matter of being consistent and carrying it into Dominica, which will be very crucial.
“The series is wide open and we have the perfect opportunity to win the series.” Resuming the day on 264 for nine, West Indies added four runs before they were dismissed for 268 off the fifth delivery of the morning.
But set what appeared to be a straightforward 188 for victory, Pakistan crashed to 81 all out – equalling the lowest-ever total at Kensington Oval and their second-lowest against West Indies.
The hosts were spearheaded by fast bowler Shannon Gabriel who was superb with five for 11 while Holder claimed three for 23 and fellow seamer Alzarri Joseph, two for 42.
Holder said preparation and execution had been the vital keys to winning the encounter. “It feels really good. It just shows what hard work can do. I think the guys put in a really good effort in the preparation leading up to this game,” he explained.
“We took it to the end. We set out some plans in the dressing room and I think we went out and executed them so credit must go to everybody, especially to the fast bowlers who just kept running in.
“I think our first innings total was really, really crucial and then backed up by a solid second innings total on a difficult pitch. I think it's an outstanding team effort.”
The victory was Holder's second in 14 games as captain, following his success in the final game of the three-match series in Sharjah in United Arab Emirates last November.
His all-round contributions were also key in winning the game here, taking six wickets and striking a half-century, and the 25-year-old said he was focused on performing his role for the team.
“For me, I'll just continue do what I have to for his team,” he stressed. “If I need to make runs for the team or if I need to come in and get some wickets, I just put up my hand and try to do it.
“I back myself and I back my ability. I've gotten here doing something well so I'll just continue to do it. Whatever the team ask me to do I'll put up my hand and do it.”