LEEDS, England, CMC – Seamer Kemar Roach has praised the sterling West Indies bowling effort which undermined England on the opening day of the second Test at Headingley here Friday.
England opted to bat first but were dismissed for a disappointing 258 in their first innings with Roach (4-71) and new-ball partner Shannon Gabriel (4-51) picking up four wickets apiece.
Ben Stokes struck exactly 100 and captain Joe Root, 59, but England never really recovered from a weak start and were bowled out midway during the session.
“It’s really great to see Shannon fit and raring to go. Obviously he’s been our best bowler for the last year and I will say ‘well bowled’ to him for his four-for,” Roach said following the day’s play.
“I felt really good today and I just want to continue what I’m doing – working hard and getting more wickets for the West Indies.”
Using a full length, Roach bowled superbly to continue where he left off in the opening Test at Edgbaston.
He trapped Tom Westley lbw for three with a full delivery, had opener Mark Stoneman caught at the wicket for 19 pushing forward before claiming Moeen Ali for 22 to a low catch at point by Roston Chase.
Roach claimed his fourth wicket by removing Chris Woakes for 23 to a catch at the wicket.
“I wasn’t getting much [assistance] but obviously it’s about putting the balls in the right areas,” the Barbadian pointed out.
“We had team meetings, we know where we need to bowl at these English batsmen and I think today we executed that pretty well. Some catches went down but we keep our heads high and we come back tomorrow.”
Those dropped catches were perhaps the disappointment of the day for the tourists. They dropped Root when he had made eight and then let off Stokes on nine and 98.
However, Roach said the missed chances were now a thing of the past and the Windies would look to improve throughout the game.
“It’s quickly forgotten. Obviously the innings is off. I would’ve liked to get Stokes early; we didn’t want him to get to a hundred but he batted really well so kudos to him,” he explained.
“But I think we know what we did wrong and there will be more team meetings and more open discussions and we’ll get the right thing done.”
Friday’s performance was in stark contrast to the Caribbean side’s meek performance in the innings defeat inside three days at Edgbaston last weekend.
And Roach credited the turnaround to frank meetings in recent days.
“We had a very strong team meeting, a very open team meeting so guys know what we’re about on this tour,” he said.
“It’s all about going out there, putting your best foot forward and working hard and performing for West Indies.”