West Indies head coach Stuart Law is not reading too much into his side’s spectacular collapse on day one of the opening Test against New Zealand on Friday.
The Australian told reporters at a post-match media conference that the Windies were a much better batting unit than their meek first innings 134 suggested, putting down the performance to “just one of those things.”
“We’ve been crying out for wickets that provide a bit of entertainment, a bit of a challenge for both bat and ball,” Law said.
“From speaking to the batsmen, they’re all bitterly disappointed with their effort. I know we’re a lot better than how we performed out there. It’s just one of those things.
“We tend to have a habit of not starting a series very well but by no means are we dead and buried in this contest. It is only day one out of five and the weather seems to be set fair for another four days so anything is possible in the second innings for our batters.”
Sent in on a grassy track at the Basin Reserve, West Indies coasted to 75 for one before losing two quick wickets in the last seven balls before lunch to collapse to 79 for three at the break.
On resumption, they lost their last seven wickets for just 55 runs in 80 minutes, as aggressive left-arm seamer Neil Wagner wrecked the innings in an outstanding career-best seven-wicket haul.
At the close, New Zealand were 85 for two, with West Indies striking to remove opener tom Latham for 37 and captain Kane Williamson for one.
Despite the poor showing with the bat, Law said West Indies had come back well with the ball and now needed to extend that momentum into Saturday’s day two.
“I still think we showed tremendous fight with the ball this afternoon. We bowled some good spells – Miguel Cummins playing his first Test for a while bowled exceptionally well,” he pointed out.
“We just need to hang on to our catches tomorrow and make sure we don’t give them too much of a lead.”
Wagner stunned West Indies with his aggression, removing Kraigg Brathwaite (24) and Shimron Hetmyer (13) to short balls which they fended off into the slip cordon.
He ended with seven for 39 – the best figures on the opening day of a Test in New Zealand and the second-best figures by a New Zealander against West Indies.
Law conceded Wagner had been difficult to play but backed the Windies batsmen to deal with him much better in the second innings.
“It’s a matter of getting used to it if you haven’t seen it. It’s difficult to combat it. Now that “We’ve had a look, our boys generally bounce back better when they know what they’re up against and know the plans of the opposition,” Law explained.
“I don’t think their plans will change too much. You just have to get out there and make sure you tire him out, get him bowling multiple spells. That was the plan – for each of their bowlers – get them bowling a lot of spells and keep them out there for as long as we could.
“But the wicket provided a bit of pace and a bit of bounce, more than what we saw in Zimbabwe.”