Kingston, Jamaica - West Indies captain Darren Sammy is confident his side can complete a series sweep over New Zealand by winning the second and final Test, which begins at Sabina Park on Thursday.
“It's just half the job done in the series. We've got another Test match and we are going to play to win,” Sammy said. “It's a long while we haven't won two Test matches in a row so we're looking forward to playing here.”
Sammy has been particularly pleased with the way his team has played in sweeping the two Twenty20 internationals, winning the ODI series 4-1 and sealing a nine-wicket win in the opening Test at Antigua last Sunday.
“We've responded quite well under pressure throughout this series and we're doing some good things. The guys are more aware of the job at hand,” the 28-year-old said. “We're making more right decisions on the cricket field. We're winning the key moments in the matches and hence we're winning some games.”
“The work we've put in over the last year or two is finally coming together. It's something we just have to be consistent at and this game starting tomorrow, we should look to do the same,” he added.
The Caribbean side has not won two Tests on the trot since beating Bangladesh in Dhaka and Chittagong under the captaincy of Ridley Jacobs in December 2002. Victory or a draw here would also ensure the West Indies leapfrog New Zealand into seventh place in the ICC test rankings.
The hosts have been set back by the injury absence of Ravi Rampaul, who pulled up with a sore groin after taking four wickets in the win in Antigua.
But they have adequate replacements in Tino Best and Fidel Edwards, the two Barbados quick bowlers.
New Zealand has more problematic injury worries with 112-test veteran Daniel Vettori ruled out with a strained right adductor.
The left-arm spinner's absence could provide a debut to Indian-born leg-spinner Tarun Nethula.
The 29-year-old Nethula has played five one-day internationals.
Neil Wagner, another foreign-born rookie who made his debut in the opening Test, conceded that the team must play better to fight back to draw the short series.
“It's obviously not the ideal start,” said the South Africa-born Wagner. “In the first Test we weren't at our best, but now we can go and rectify it and hopefully come out stronger.
“Knowing the boys and knowing how I play personally, we'll definitely come out firing to win this Test.”
Wagner acknowledged the impact that West Indies veteran Chris Gayle could have on setting the tone of the match. The 32-year-old former captain is back in front of his home crowd after a match-shaping 150 was followed by 64 not out during the cruise to victory in Antigua.
“They rely a lot on their big players so if we can apply a bit of pressure on them then maybe it could be a different game. I know the boys will come out hard doing that,” Wagner said.
“He (Gayle) doesn't give you a lot of chances, and when he does you've got to grab them. Hopefully if he gives us another sniff we'll be able to capitalise on it.”
New Zealand is likely to ring the changes for the series finale with wicketkeeper BJ Watling and left-arm seamer Trent Boult recovered from quadriceps problems and set to return to the side with batsman Dean Brownlie and veteran pacer Chris Martin likely to make way.
Sammy was wary of under-estimating the Kiwis, who have struggled to make an impact throughout the last six weeks on tour.
“We're playing an international team so we're not taking them for granted. But the way the boys, the team is playing, we're doing some good things and we just have to be positive and look to continue that,” he said. - Sapa-AP
West Indies - Darren Sammy (captain), Chris Gayle, Kieran Powell, Assad Fudadin, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Tino Best, Kemar Roach, Fidel Edwards and Adrian Barath.
New Zealand - Ross Taylor (captain), Martin Guptill, Daniel Flynn, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, BJ Watling, Kruger van Wyk, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Tarun Nethula, Chris Martin, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Dean Brownlie.