West Indies great Curtly Ambrose says there’s still a lot of work to be done if the team wants to return to dominating world cricket.

The West Indies secured a 1-0 series win over England after a dominant 10-wicket win in the third Apex Test match in Grenada on Sunday.

The win extended the Windies’ home dominance over England in the past 50 years to eight wins and two draws in 11 series with England’s only series win coming in 2003-04.

“It means a lot not only for the team but for us as Caribbean people,” said Ambrose while working as a commentator for the series.

“We were spoiled, for many years we were the best team in the world, beating everybody. There’s still a lot of work to be done,” he added.

The former fast bowler who ended his Test career with 405 wickets at an average of 20.99 while clearly delighted with the result, explained that the result doesn’t mean the West Indies have suddenly turned a corner.

“Winning one game convincingly doesn’t mean we’ve turned the corner but it’s a step in the right direction. We’ve seen times in the past when they get under pressure they tend to crumble. That didn’t happen in this series,” he said.

 

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite etched his name into the history books with his batting performance in the recently concluded second Apex Test match against England at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.

In the first innings, Brathwaite struck his 10th Test hundred, a marathon 160 off 489 balls. He followed that up in the second innings with 56 not out off 184 balls to break the record for the most deliveries faced by a West Indian in a Test match with 673.

“I enjoyed it. The pitch at times with the harder ball was difficult but I just decided to stick to my plan which was to play as straight and as late as possible,” he said in his post-match interview.

"I’ve put in a lot of work over the years and to do it at home is a quite pleasing feeling. I’m very happy and thankful,” he added.

Aside from his personal accomplishments, the West Indies captain also praised his players who stood tall in the game, including vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood, who struck 102 in the first innings, his third Test ton.

“I thought it was a tremendous effort. Obviously, Jermaine didn’t get runs in the first game but when we came out, we had the right attitude and just decided we would fight. England bowled extremely well but it was good that a team put up 500 and, for us as a team, we could fight and score 400 and bat 180 overs," Brathwaite said.

"I thought that was a superb effort. That’s the attitude we want and that’s what the fans want to see. Once we continue with that attitude, we’ll continue to do well.”  

Even with his stellar performances at the crease so far in the series, Brathwaite still hopes for a pitch that will better aid his bowlers in the third and final Test in Grenada.

“We’d like to see something in it for the pacers but, in saying that, I thought we put in a very big effort. Obviously, we want a result in the last Test going our way so we have to see what Grenada produces but let’s hope it has something for the pacers,” he said.

The third and final Test bowls off on March 24th at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.

 

 

 

 

Kensington Oval is expected to be a hive of activity for the second Apex Test match, as the historic venue will now be able to operate at full capacity when West Indies host England from March 16-20.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has announced that the venue will be allowed to return to 100 per cent capacity for fully vaccinated fans, following a decision taken on Monday by the Barbados Government.

Additionally, it was also announced that fans in the ‘Banks Party Stand’, presented by ‘Power By Four’, will no longer be required to take rapid antigen tests to enter, with all fans now just needing to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and be able to present their vaccination documentation.

“We are very happy that there is the potential for more West Indies and travelling England fans to attend the 2nd Apex Test match at Kensington Oval. We were almost sold out for the first two days before the decision by the Government of Barbados, which everyone welcomes," said Dominic Warne, WI’s Commercial and Marketing Director.

"Additionally, this will make it a much smoother experience for Banks Party Stand ticket holders, of which there will be more than 1000 per day, following the removal of rapid antigen testing requirements. We’re expecting another dramatic Test match against England and we want as many West Indies fans as possible rallying behind the #MeninMaroon.”

 The three-match Apex Test Series is still level following the draw in the first Apex Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

 

 

 

Defiant second innings batting from man-of-the-match Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder helped the West Indies salvage a draw on day five of the first Apex Test match against England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Saturday.

England’s unbeaten pair of captain Joe Root (84) and Zak Crawley (117) started the day attempting to add on to England’s overnight 217-1 and eventually got to 225 before Crawley became the first scalp of the day, falling to Holder for 121.

Root carried on and brought up his 24th Test match hundred, the second-most by an Englishman only behind former skipper Alastair Cook’s 33.

Dan Lawrence, who joined Root after Crawley’s dismissal, made a breezy 37 before he was removed by Alzarri Joseph to leave England 295-3 off 78.3 overs.

With a declaration looming, England’s batsmen tried to step up their scoring rate but kept losing wickets quickly, including Root for 109 and Ben Stokes for 13.

Joseph finished with 3-78 off 23.2 overs while Kemar Roach picked up 2-53 off 19 overs.

They eventually declared on 349-6, leaving the West Indies needing 286 for victory.

The West Indies started their pursuit just before lunch, eventually reaching 4-0 at the break.

After lunch, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell continued their fruitful partnership at the top of the order with a second 50 partnership of the match.

They got to 59-0 before Brathwaite was trapped in front by Stokes for 33. Campbell was then dismissed in the next over by Jack Leach for 22 to leave the hosts in a spot of bother at 59-2.

Shamarh Brooks (5) and Jermaine Blackwood (2) then quickly became Leach’s next two victims to leave the West Indies struggling at 67-4 in the 35th over.

Thankfully for the West Indies, Bonner (38) and Holder (37) safely negotiated the final 36.3 overs to lead the West Indies to 147-4 off 70.1 overs.

Jack Leach was the pick of the England bowlers with 3-57 off 30.1 overs.

Final Scores: England 311 and 349-6 declared, West Indies 375 and 147-4.

The second test gets underway on March 16th in Barbados.

 

 

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are the most successful pace bowling duo in the history of Test Cricket with 1,177 wickets in 321 matches between them.

Against the West Indies, the pair has 160 wickets in 41 matches. With that being said, many were surprised when the England squad for their three-match Test series against the Windies was announced with Broad and Anderson nowhere to be found.

West Indies pace bowler Kemar Roach was no exception.

“Quite surprising,” Roach said in a pre-match press conference on Saturday.

“I thought that both of them would definitely still be involved but decisions have been made on that end,” he added.

Obviously, the absence of the two is a big plus for the Caribbean side, a sentiment Roach also shared.

“I think it’s a slight advantage for us, obviously with those experienced players missing so there’s a hole for England to fill. Robinson, Wood, and Woakes are fantastic bowlers and we take them seriously but once we get our plans right, I think we’ll be in good shape going into this series.”

Since his debut in 2009, Roach has taken 231 wickets in Test cricket with England being his favourite opponent as 50 of those have come against them.

“For me, England is our biggest series. We play the most test matches against England, having three, so, at home, obviously, there’s a confidence factor and you want to perform well against England. I’m always looking to go hard and put on my best performances against them.”

Roach will, hopefully, have his chance to add to those 50 wickets when the teams square off in the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua starting on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel on Tuesday named the West Indies Men’s squad for the first Apex Test match against England, as well as the CWI President’s XI squad for the four-day warm-up match.

The first Apex Test will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium from March 8-12, following the warm-up match at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) from March 1-4.

In the West Indies Test squad, there is a maiden call-up for fast bowler Anderson Phillip and a recall for opener John Campbell. Both players were impressive in the first two rounds of the current West Indies Championship, with 25-year-old Phillip from Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, taking 12 wickets at an average of 14.25 per wicket, with best figures of 5-82 against Jamaica Scorpions and 28-year-old Campbell from Jamaica Scorpions hitting 213 runs at an average of 53.25, including 127 against Barbados Pride.

The West Indies squad will assemble in Antigua from February 25 for a training camp ahead of the Apex Test Series.

Shane Dowrich, the experienced wicketkeeper/batsman has been named as captain of the CWI President’s XI with Raymon Reifer, the left-handed allrounder as the vice-captain.

“Anderson Phillip bowled extremely well and was very impressive in the first two rounds of the West Indies Championship and we decided to give him an opportunity in the Test squad to face England. He has been around the squad before in white-ball cricket, so he has some experience at the international level,” lead selector Desmond Haynes said.

“I expect us to be very competitive against England. This should be a very exciting series, with a lot of players who are out to make their mark. We have a squad that has some experienced players, as well as some exciting young players and we expect them to equip themselves well and do the job,” he added.

West Indies Test Squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood (Vice-Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Anderson Phillip, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales

CWI President’s XI Squad: Shane Dowrich (Captain), Raymon Reifer (Vice-Captain), Colin Archibald, Alick Athanaze, Keacy Carty, Bryan Charles, Shermon Lewis, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Jeremy Solozano, Shamar Springer, Devon Thomas

 

 

 

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, says Sri Lanka’s resistance on the penultimate day of the second Test match in Galle will make it difficult for the West Indies to level the two-match series.

West Indies left-arm spinner, Veerasammy Permaul, was delighted after taking a maiden five-wicket haul in his 7th match in Test cricket.

Permaul took 5-35 from his 13 overs to help restrict Sri Lanka to 204 all out on day two of the second Test in Galle.

The Guyanese bowler, who is playing in his first Test match since 2015, reacted joyously to his achievement.

“First of all, I’d like to thank God for giving me strength. I’m very overwhelmed. Over the years I’ve been working really hard to get back into the team and now it is paying off,” he said.

Permaul said trying to spin the ball as much as possible served him well in the Sri Lankan conditions.

“I tried to adjust to the conditions and see what pace is good for the wicket. I also tried to spin the ball as much as possible and I think that is what brought me success,” he said.

He also referred to the bowling partnership between himself and fellow left-arm spinner, Barbadian Jomel Warrican, who took 4-50 from his 18.3 overs.

“I think Warrican bowled really well. He was the one that was controlling the scoring rate. He was bowling tight at one end and I was attacking at the other end and that is the key to a good bowling partnership,” he said.

When asked how the Windies bowling performance can carry over into future encounters, Permaul said consistency is key.

“Moving forward, it’s very important that we stay consistent as a bowling unit. Be patient and don’t look for wickets. Try to create opportunities rather than experimenting,” he said.

The West Indies ended day two on 69-1 in their first innings reply to Sri Lanka’s 204 all out with captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, at the crease on 22 and Nkrumah Bonner on one.

Jermaine Blackwood is the only batsman out so far for 44.

 

West Indies bowling coach, Roddy Estwick, was pleased with the bowling performance of his team on Monday's rain-affected first day of their second Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Sri Lanka ended the day on 113-1 from the 34.4 overs that were possible after rain washed out the entire first two sessions.

Pathum Nissanka and Oshada Fernando are the batsmen at the crease on 61 and two, respectively, while Roston Chase has so far taken 1-33 from 7.4 overs.

The West Indies made two changes to the team from the first test in the bowling department with Veerasammy Permaul and Kemar Roach playing instead of Rakheem Cornwall and Shannon Gabriel.

Estwick says the presence of a number of right-handers in the Sri Lankan batting line-up was the reason why Permaul, a left-arm spinner, came into the side at the expense of Cornwall, who bowls off-spin.

“When you look at the Sri Lankan batting line-up, they’re packed with right-handers. We felt that with Roston already bowling off-spin, it would be wiser to go with two left-arm spinners,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to Estwick Roach replacing Gabriel was due to the short turnaround between matches.

“You now have to manage your bowlers with the short turnaround. Before, you had eight or nine days between Test matches and that is a thing of the past. There’s three days between Test matches plus there’s been a lot of rain around Galle so the field is a bit heavy and that can be very taxing on the fast bowler’s body. Kemar didn’t play in the first test and that was planned to keep him fresh for this one,” he said.

Overall, Estwick was, for the most part, pleased with the bowling of his left arm spinners on the day.

“I thought Jomel Warrican, in the few overs he bowled this evening, looked threatening. He went past the bat a lot. Permaul, obviously coming back from being out of Test cricket for a while, I thought he looked good initially but then a change in (the) field, meant he went a little bit too wide. He needed to be on the stumps a bit more challenging both the outside and inside edges.,” he said.

He was also generally pleased with how the Caribbean side executed their plans on the day, especially to Sri Lankan captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, who got scores of 147 and 83 in the first test but who made 42 Monday.

“Obviously, their captain is in good form. I think we stuck to our plans well. We wanted to take the stumps out of the equation and make him hit the ball through the offside. I think we achieved that. If you look at it, he scored 42 off 90 balls so I thought that, all in all, we bowled well,” said Estwick.

Looking at what lies ahead in the match, Estwick emphasised cutting down on loose deliveries and being flexible with their tactics.

“We could have been better with maybe a little bit; too many boundary balls. We’ll come tomorrow and work hard, make sure we keep reviewing our plans and then try to go and execute them,” he said.

Day 2 begins at 11:30 pm.

West Indies batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, says the team will need to come up with a plan to cope with Sri Lanka’s spin attack if they are to get a better result in the second Test match of the series this weekend.

Bonner was one of the few batsmen to provide any resistance against the spin onslaught from the hosts.

He compiled an unbeaten 68 in the second innings in which the Windies were bowled out for 160 to lose the game by 187 runs.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, the Jamaican top-order batsman said the Caribbean side will need to get together and devise a plan to counter the Sri Lankan spinners.

“Moving forward, we have to come up with small tactics for when we’re playing the off-spinners or the left-arm spinners. That’s something we’re going to sit down as a team and look at,” said Bonner.

The Windies problems against spin are mental rather than physical, according to Bonner.

“It’s mental for us. Everybody has the ability to play spin but we need to be clear on how we want to play against them. Obviously, the Sri Lankan spinners got the better of us in this match. We’re trying to work on that in training to try to give a better showing in the next match,” he said

Bonner also spoke about how the Windies can improve their approach to playing spin, given the fact that it is the biggest threat in sub-continent conditions.

“We have to be more precise with our footwork, whether we’re going to come forward or go back. There are some small things we want to work on if we want to be more assured when we’re defending and when we’re attacking,” he said.

The second test match begins Sunday at 11:30 pm local time.

Rassie Erasmus and SA Rugby have withdrawn their intention to appeal against sanctions imposed and have apologised to match officials for misconduct during the British and Irish Lions series.

South Africa director of rugby Erasmus was last week banned from all rugby activities for two months and suspended from matchday activities until September 30 next year.

Erasmus was in hot water after he accused the Lions of "reckless and dangerous" play in their 22-17 win in the first Test in July and hit out at the standard of refereeing from Nic Berry.

The World Cup-winning coach also made the claims in a 62-minute video clip posted on social media as he highlighted what he felt were a number of calls that went against the world champions.

Erasmus also retweeted clips from an anonymous Twitter user, alleged to be one of his own accounts, highlighting "questionable calls".

World Rugby last week revealed that an independent misconduct committee found the 49-year-old was guilty of all six charges that were brought against him.

The 49-year-old was also warned about his future conduct and told to issue an apology to the relevant match officials, while a fine of £20,000 was issued to SA Rugby along with a warning over the governing body's conduct going forward.

Both Erasmus and SA Rugby stated they would exercise their rights to appeal the verdicts, but both parties have now decided against challenging the sanctions.

A statement released by SA Rugby on Thursday said: "SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus wish to apologise to the match officials appointed to the first Test of the Springboks' Series against the British and Irish Lions.

"We also confirm that SA Rugby and Erasmus have advised World Rugby that they withdraw their Notice of Appeal and will not lodge an appeal against the sanctions imposed by the Judicial Committee.

"This has been a highly stressful and charged environment with unusual pressures placed on all concerned and we have no wish to prolong that experience for anyone.

"We have drawn a line under the incident and only wish to look forward. We will respect the outcomes of the hearing, allowing our national teams and rugby operations to plan with clarity for the coming months."

A World Rugby statement said: "World Rugby welcomes the public apology from SA Rugby and Rassie Erasmus to the match officials involved in the first test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions this year and the matter is closed."

West Indies wicket-keeper batsman, Joshua Da Silva, believes application at the crease will be the key for the Caribbean side for the remainder of their Test series against Sri Lanka.

The Windies lost the first test to the Sri Lankans by 187 runs in Galle while only managing to score 230 and 160 in their two turns at the wicket.

The problem, according to Da Silva, was a technical one.

“We played a bit too far in front of us, especially in the first innings,” he said.

Da Silva was one of the bright spots in the second innings, making a well-played 54 off 125 balls as part of a 100-run partnership with Nkrumah Bonner, who remained not out at the end on 68.

Speaking after the match, Da Silva highlighted the difficulty of the conditions that the batsmen faced.

“Conditions were challenging. The pitch was turning a lot and the straighter ball was sliding on a bit so it was a difficult new-ball wicket but once the ball got a bit softer, it was a bit easier and we were able to get more on top of the bowlers,” he said.

The Trinidadian also gave some insight into what led to the big second innings partnership with Bonner that saw them take the score from 18-6 to 118-7.

“Well, when I got into the wicket with Bonner we had to rebuild. We had to think about how we were going to get out of a bit of a collapse so we just wanted to bat balls and both of us wanted to be at the wicket at the end of the day,” said Da Silva.

He also said that Sri Lanka didn’t do anything the Windies didn’t expect going into the game.

“They just played the cricket they know how to play. They used their spinners wisely and they batted well in the conditions they know how to bat very well. They used their home advantage,” he said.

Finally, Da Silva explained what needs to change for the West Indies to turn the series around.

“I just think the boys need to fight. We need to believe in ourselves. Nobody goes out there to fail. Everybody’s trying their best so just a bit of application and give yourself some time. You have a lot more time than you think,” he said.

The Windies will be looking to even the series in the second test which begins on Sunday at 11:30 pm local time.

 

 

 

Only four overs of play were possible after lunch as the West Indies continued their fightback on day three of the first of their three-test series against hosts Sri Lanka.

After starting the day on 113-6, a strong partnership between former captain, Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers propelled the Windies to 163-6 before Mayers was deceived by off-spinner, Dhananjaya de Silva, and lobbed a catch to captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, at short cover for a top score of 45.

Holder was next to go, caught at point by Dushmantha Chameera off the bowling of Praveen Jayawickrama for 36 with the score on 175.

He tried to play a cut shot off a ball that got some extra bounce and ended up lobbing the ball in the air to Chameera, who took a good catch diving to his right.

Rakheem Cornwall then joined wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva at the crease and the two steadied the ship, bringing the score up to 224 before Cornwall went, caught by Ramesh Mendis, off the bowling of pacer Suranga Lakmal for 38.

Cornwall’s wicket fell on the last ball of the 80th over and the rest of the day’s play was washed out by rain.

The West Indies will start day four on 224-9, still 162 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 386 with Joshua da Silva at the crease on 11 and Shannon Gabriel yet to score.

 

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has been banned from all rugby activities for two months for his conduct towards match officials during a series win over the British and Irish Lions.

Erasmus, head coach of the Springboks for their 2019 World Cup triumph, has also been suspended from all matchday activities with immediate effect until September 30 next year.

World Rugby on Wednesday revealed that an independent misconduct committee found the 49-year-old was guilty of all six charges that were brought against him.

Erasmus accused the Lions of "reckless and dangerous" play in their 22-17 win in the first Test in July and hit out at the standard of refereeing from Nic Berry.

He also made the claims in a 62-minute clip posted on social media as he highlighted what he felt were a number of calls that went against the world champions.

Erasmus also retweeted clips from an anonymous Twitter user, alleged to be one of his own accounts, highlighting "questionable calls".

In summary, World Rugby revealed he had been guilty of threatening a match official that unless a requested meeting took place, he would publish footage containing clips criticising the match official's performance and then making good on that threat; published or permitted to be published the video containing numerous comments that were either abusive, insulting and/or offensive to match officials.

He was also found to have attacked, disparaged and/or denigrated the game and the match officials; did not accept or observe the authority and decisions of match officials; published or caused to be published criticism of the manner in which a match official handled a match.

The committee also deemed Erasmus to have engaged in conduct or activity that may impair public confidence in the integrity and good character of match official(s); and brought the game into disrepute when he published or caused to be published the 'Erasmus Video'.

Erasmus was warned about his future conduct and told to issue an apology to the relevant match officials.

SA Rugby were also charged with not ensuring Erasmus complied with the World Rugby Code of Conduct and/or permitted him to commit acts of misconduct; and/or did not publicly correct any comments or publications by or on behalf of the director of rugby that amounted to misconduct.

A fine of £20,000 was issued to SA Rugby along with a warning as to future conduct. The organisation was told there must be an apology to the relevant match officials.

SA Rugby issued a joint statement along with Erasmus confirming both parties will exercise their rights to appeal the verdicts.

Warren Gatland says the British and Irish Lions gave it everything but came up just short in their agonising Test series defeat to South Africa.

The Lions suffered last-minute heartbreak in Cape Town as Morne Steyn's penalty secured a 19-16 win for the Springboks, who take the series by a 2-1 scoreline having lost the opening match.

Gatland's side had taken early control of the decider, Ken Owens' try helping them claim a 10-3 lead before half-time.

However, the Lions were made to rue missed opportunities as the reigning world champions fought back, with veteran fly-half Steyn coming off the bench to land the knockout blow – just as he had done in the 2009 series between the same teams.

Nevertheless, Gatland was unable to fault the efforts of his players.

"I'm disappointed, but really proud of the guys," Gatland told Sky Sports. "We spoke beforehand about winning these Test matches being about big moments.

"We had a two-on-one when maybe Josh Adams should have scored and a couple of times we were held up across the line. 

"I thought we were bold in terms of the tactics and what we wanted to do and tried to play rugby.

"We had a couple of calls which didn't go our way and bounces of the ball, particularly the try they scored, but I'm really proud of the effort. 

"I can't ask the guys more than the guys giving 100 per cent and they definitely did that."

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