Sammy applauds 'professional effort' of Windies team
A relieved-looking captain Darren Sammy was all smiles yesterday after West Indies recorded their first home series win since 2009.
The regional team — already 1-0 ahead in the Digicel Test series against New Zealand — completed the sweep with a relatively easy five-wicket win over the struggling visitors at Sabina Park yesterday.
Sammy praised the "professional effort" from his troops and noted that a winning mentality has formed within the team.
"It feels really good to win and the way we have gone about playing against New Zealand it's just been a professional effort from everybody.
"I think the guys are more aware of what is required to win. I think we are giving more thought to the way we go out and play and to the team plans and obviously we have guys who have been working really hard throughout the year and now they are reaping the rewards," said the 28-year-old during yesterday's post-match media conference.
Despite the dominance on tour which also saw a 2-0 win in the Twenty20 (T20) series and an emphatic 4-1 victory in the One-Day Internationals (ODI), the St Lucian said it was not as easy as the scoreline suggests.
"I think they were quite tough. In all the games they had their chances but we capitalised on the key moments in most of the games.
"The result may not show it but there were times when we really had to work hard for everything. We displayed our mental toughness," he said, while adding that heading into the series New Zealand were ahead in the ICC Test rankings.
New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor said he was disappointed because the team's performance during the series fell below expectations but conceded that the home team was better throughout.
"(I am) very disappointed. We knew it would be tough but we still expected to do better. (A lot) of credit to West Indies for being the better team. We are not performing as consistently as we would like," he said.
The 28-year-old Taylor said his quartet of fast bowlers fought hard but added that the batsmen — except for Martin Guptill, who topped the runs chart in the Tests with 277 runs — failed miserably against the West Indies bowling attack.
"We lost crucial wickets at crucial times in both Test matches. Martin struggled a bit in the Twenty20s and One-Dayers but he showed you what a quality player he can be with runs at the top of the order. That's been something we have not done as consistently as we would have liked and he was consistent. I think the bowlers are promising and something to work on," Taylor said.
The 'Black Caps' captain said the inclusion of the left-handed batsman Christopher Gayle and off-spinner Sunil Narine into the regional team set-up had a major impact on the fortunes of the visitors throughout the tour.
Sammy agreed that Gayle's contribution at the top of the order was important but he was also pleased that other players stepped in to fill the breach on the rare occasions that the big-hitting left-hander failed.
(See match report on Page 39)