Birmingham, England – West Indies captain Darren Sammy said his side expect to win their upcoming one-day series with England after finishing the Test campaign with a flourish.
Although rain washed out three of the five days in the third Test here at Edgbaston, the West Indies' total of 426 featured an unbeaten century from wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin, a stylish 76 by Marlon Samuels and Tino Best's 95 Ä the highest score by a Test match No 11.
The three-match series may have already been lost after defeats at Lord's and Trent Bridge but, with Best topping the 90mph mark against opponents he could meet again when a trio of one-dayers begins at Southampton on Saturday, it was a timely reminder to England of the perils of taking the West Indies lightly.
West Indies' recent results suggest they are far more of a force in one-day cricket and with Chris Gayle back on board after more than a year out following a dispute with Caribbean cricket chiefs, they have one of the world's leading limited overs batsmen in their line-up.
Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Dwayne and Darren Bravo could also pose problems to an England side captained by Alastair Cook in one-dayers now his Test skipper and fellow opener Andrew Strauss has quit the white-ball game.
West Indies pushed Australia all the way in a five-match one-day series in March that ended all square at 2-2 after the third ODI in St Vincent was tied.
“Everybody's really excited about this one-day series and everybody believes we should beat England,” said all-rounder Sammy. “We are quite confident as a one-day team.”
Sammy said West Indies coach Ottis Gibson, formerly England's bowling coach, had identified one-day cricket as an area where the side, who've now won just two of their last 33 Tests, could make big strides.
“When Ottis came on board we set goals and as a one-day team, looking to win the 2015 World Cup (in Australia and New Zealand), that's possible,” said Sammy, who added success at this year's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September and October was also a realistic target.
“In Test cricket, where you need a lot of concentration, it might take more time for us to get back and win games consistently because we've been losing at that level for a long time,” said Sammy, whose maiden Test century came during a nine-wicket second Test defeat at Trent Bridge.
“We are more confident as a team playing one-day and T20
But against England the tourists showed enough glimpses of talent to suggest that, if they get their strongest side on the field, they could yet make headway in Tests, even if there is no immediate prospect of a return to the heights scaled by the celebrated West Indies teams of the 1970s and 1980s.
“We competed but we didn't compete for long enough over an extended period of time and hence we lost 2-0,” said medium-pacer Sammy.
“Looking at the three Test matches, we scored over 320 (in an innings in each Test) with our top order not contributing. To do that was a plus for us.”
Samuels – the West Indies' man of the series after making 386 runs at an average of 96.50 – proved a thorn in England's side throughout while Ramdin and Best stunned the hosts with a last-wicket stand of 143 at Edgbaston.
“We said we would come here with a never-say-die attitude and that last-wicket partnership was just a perfect example,” said Samuels.
“It was great to watch and on that same flat wicket we got five wickets.” – Sapa-AFP