September 3, 2019 / 2:56 AM / 18 days ago

Cricket: West Indies' batting limitations exposed by classy India

(Reuters) - West Indies’ batting limitations were ruthlessly exposed by a relentless and classy India bowling attack in the two-test series swept by the visitors in Jamaica on Monday.

India won the second test by 257 runs, a week after a 318-run victory in the first test in Antigua.

While West Indies’ pace bowlers Kemar Roach and Jason Holder performed particularly well, the batsmen did not keep their side of the bargain.

West Indies made only 327 runs over two innings in Kingston, and produced an even more meagre grand total of 322 runs in the opening encounter.

Captain Holder acknowledged the frailties of his batsmen, though he could not offer a solution.

“Lots of problems with the batting,” he said.

“Tough question (is) how to fix the batting. It’s an individual thing.”

The problems were most acute at the very top of the order, where openers Kraigg Brathwaite averaged only seven and 12 runs respectively.

Below them, a maiden test half-century by Shamarh Brooks on Monday, the highest score by a West Indies’ batsman in the series, came after he had scored only 13 runs in his previous three innings.

Darren Bravo also went cheaply, with 24 runs in his first three innings before retiring hurt with concussion on 23 on Monday after being struck in the helmet by Jasprit Bumrah.

Dynamic middle-order batsman Shimron Hetymer showed flashes of his rich talent without posting a big score.

He twice scored in the 30s, but was also out cheaply on two occasions, including on Monday when he made just one before giving his wicket away cheaply, caught at cover.

As so often has been the case, the tireless Holder had to rescue his team, and his average of 26 was the best of a disappointing bunch.

The all-rounder also enjoyed a good series with the ball, taking eight wickets at an average of 22.25.

Roach showed he would be an asset to any team, picking up nine wickets at 22.22 and passing Wes Hall to become the ninth most prolific West Indies bowler with 193 career scalps.

“We have been on the field in every single day of this test series, and every single time our bowlers have delivered,” Holder said.

“India are a quality side. They wore us down. They knew our bowling was good, so they made us work hard for the wickets.

“And when we got the chance to bat, we didn’t bat well enough.”

The series was a reality check for West Indies, who beat England 2-1 in a three-test series early this year.

Their next test is against Bangladesh in India starting Nov. 27.

“Quite a bit of time till we play the next test match so time for players to take some ownership,” Holder said.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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