“We had a lot of time to sit back and reflect on how the last year ended” – Holder © Getty
West Indies wrapped up a massive 226-run win over Sri Lanka in the first Test in Trinidad after having the visitors bundled for 226 on the final day. The equation was simple for Sri Lanka, who required 277 on the final day, with seven wickets in hand. However, on Sunday (June 11), they only managed to add 51 runs as Roston Chase returned a four-wicket haul with Devendra Bishoo taking three.
The second innings wasn’t where Windies exterted their domination on the match. It was in the first innings when Shane Dowrich added vital runs and solid stands with the lower order as Windies, who could’ve been bowled out for less than 200, finished with a total of 411 for 8 declared, with Dowrich unbeaten on 125. The batsman shared stands of 90, 102 and 75 with Jason Holder, Bishoo and Kemar Roach respectively. In reply, the visitors were bowled out for 185, handing the hosts with a very handy 229-run lead.
“Our lower order has been one of the most consistent lower orders in world cricket for the last two or three years,” Holder said, although statistics don’t back his claims in the context. “I always back the guys to come in and put up a partnership and put up a fight. It really started with the partnership that Shane and I had, and then Devendra came in and played an outstanding knock. Not only did he take time out of the game, he scored runs as well. That not only took time out of the game, it wore down the Sri Lankan bowlers and made it tough for them. I was always backing our guys to get us up to a really good score.
“The declaration was one where we felt we had enough in the first innings,” Holder said. “And with time lost on the second day, we wanted to be able to bowl at Sri Lanka that evening. It worked out in our favour.”
Sri Lanka were reeling at 30 for 3 owing to a fiery spell from Shannon Gabriel, setting the visitors back before they were bowled out cheaply. Kieran Powell’s 88 in the second innings, helped Windies extend their lead, and Holder’s chipping in with another handy knock (39) before declaring ensured they finished with a total that would’ve been a mighty task for Sri Lanka to chase down in the fourth innings. Eventually, Sri Lanka’s failure with the bat, despite a century from opener Kusal Mendis (102), meant that the hosts reversed a trend of them losing the first Test of a series – having lost each of the first Tests in the nine previous series, barring the one against Zimbabwe.
“We had a lot of time to sit back and reflect on how the last year ended,” Holder said. “To start this series the way we’ve started it is quite pleasing. Knowing that in the past we’ve lost at the start of the series and were playing catch-up cricket, it was good to come out of the gates on a winning note,” added Holder, who led his side to their first win since 2014 where they picked up a win over a side in the top nine in the ICC Test rankings in a first Test.