Dyson still confident of home win

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 16:04 [IST]
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West Indies coach John Dyson believes a sensational come-from-behind victory is still a possibility for his side in the opening Test against Sri Lanka.

Chasing 437 from a minimum of 113 overs, West Indies reached 96 for one when stumps were drawn on the fourth day at the Guyana National Stadium.

"We'll just wait and see what happens in the morning and see how things pan out," he told reporters.

"History says it's possible to get a total like this, and it has been done in the West Indies before.

"You never put that total out of the question. These days, all teams look to win wherever possible, and if the opportunity to win comes along, then we will look to take it."

West Indies hold the world record for the highest successful run chase in Tests, when they scored 418 against Australia five years ago at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

But Dyson said he would not have any special instructions for the batsmen on his side on the way they should approach the challenge.

"I'm not one to have a team talk every night, and at the end of a day's play, it is time for the players to do their cool downs, let their emotions cool down as well and reflect on what's happened in the day's play," he said.

"In the morning, we will have a quiet chat about what might happen throughout the day, and the instructions will be as always 'play every ball on its merit'. If they get a bad ball, put it away. If they get a good ball, defend."

Dyson explained the reasons behind the decision to promote Dwayne Bravo to open the batting for the first time in a Test instead of captain Chris Gayle.

Bravo was not out on 46 and Ramnaresh Sarwan was not out on 34, as they added 74 in an unbroken stand for the second wicket.

"Chris felt that it was a good chance to just have a change in this innings," Dyson said. "He feels that Bravo is a very positive player.

"The thought of having a right-hand, left-hand opening combination in this innings was something also worth considering.

"Chris discussed it with me and the vice-captain [Sarwan], and we said, 'if you think that's the way to go we'll support you'. It has turned out to be a very good decision."

Dyson also gave his views on the pitch which has brought different opinions from the players on both sides, with Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene describing it as "difficult for batting", and the West Indies calling it "a batting paradise".

"We would expect a Test pitch in the first session of the first day to give a fast bowler, if he is a genuine fast bowler and is prepared to run in and bowl fast, if he bowls well, to get some help," he said. "I don't think the pitch gave the fast bowlers any help.

"We would then expect the pitch to lose some of its pace and become a batting paradise, where the ball comes on to the bat and scoring runs for 1-1/2 days is at its best, and then you expect it to start to turn.

"The ball gets older and as the game gets older and the pitch becomes more worn you expect it to turn even more and more."

Dyson contended that the pitch in the lead-up match between the visitors and a West Indies Select XI might not have been Jayawardene's ideal pace even though he got a hundred.

"But it has been pretty damn good to bat on, and I can tell you that Malinda Warnupara thinks it is a pretty good deck," Dyson said.

"There are a couple of their main batsmen who are still kicking themselves that they got out in the first innings.

Sri Lanka are aiming to win their first Test match in the Caribbean having lost two and drawn two of their previous four here.

The visitors are also eyeing a Test series victory for the first time in the Caribbean.

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