Assistant coach Toby Radford jumped to the defence of the West Indies' struggling top order after another dismal display on day two of the third and final Test against Australia.
Assistant coach Toby Radford jumped to the defence of the West Indies' struggling top order after another dismal display on day two of the third and final Test.
Responding to a formidable 328 all out from Australia, the home side slumped to 165 for eight – and a 163-run first-innings deficit – at Windsor Park in Dominica on Tuesday.
While Kieran Powell and Adrian Barath enjoyed solid enough starts, they were unable to convert to anything more than 40 and 29 respectively. Kraigg Brathwaite, meanwhile, fell for a duck and Adrian Barath got out for 10.
It took a fighting rearguard stand between the veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul and tail-ender Ravi Rampaul to rescue a total that would have read considerably worse were it not for their unbroken 45-run alliance.
"I was happy with how we dealt with the new ball. I thought Barath was good, I thought Powell was good," insisted Radford. "Having got a really good start against the new ball, suddenly spin did the damage. We've had other games where we've struggled against the new ball, we've talked a lot about it.
"How to play Ben Hilfenhaus, the fact he sets you up bowling away and then there's the big in-swinger. We've looked at that, thought we played that really well here and then on comes an off-spinner, a lot of turn and bounce, and he does the damage.
"These are young guys, talented guys, who I think will have good careers and we've got to be patient with them. They're learning and they'll learn around people like Shivnarine at the other end. It's not suicide for us. You learn, you come back and are stronger."
The shoddy form of Brathwaite is of particular concern. The steady half-century the 19-year-old scored at the start of the series has since taken a back seat to three consecutive ducks.
Tuesday saw him edge a delivery to first slip that he really should have left alone. Radford, however, backed the youngster for better.
"You chat with Brathwaite. You talk with him. You practice with him whenever you can and you remind him how good a player he is," he added.
"He played very well in Barbados in that first innings. Here he got out in a similar fashion to how he got out in the second innings in Barbados, just hanging the bat a little bit, but again you back him. He's a good player.
"He is a young player. Our job as coaches is to keep his confidence high and work on any little issues as they come along. You've got to back your young players."
The Windies sported high hopes of wrapping up the Australian innings in brisk fashion at the start of play on Tuesday, but were ultimately thwarted by Matthew Wade and the visiting tail-enders.
Resuming on an iffy 212 for seven overnight, the Aussies added a further 116 runs thanks largely to wicketkeeper-batsman Wade's maiden Test ton and telling contributions of 35 from Mitchell Starc and 19 from Hilfenhaus.
"The message was we must bowl at those guys – Starc and Wade – as if they were to-order batsmen. We've got to bowl the same way. We can't think they're just going to fall over because we know Australians don't just fall over," added Radford.
"Don't think because they're numbers nine, 10 and 11 they're just going to give their wickets away, it just doesn't happen like that."
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