West Indies and New Zealand went into the final Test of the series with everything to play for -- the series tied 1-1. In fact, West Indies would have been on a high having won the second Test with a handsome performance. But, their inconsistency came to the fore at Bridgetown, Barbados, and cost them the series. They needed to show better defiance with the bat in particular, the lack of which cost them the series. West Indies matched New Zealand in most departments, but lost out when it came to the finer aspects.
In the end, it was the last day batting that cost them the Test as well as the series. True, the pitch was playing tricks, and New Zealand's bowlers bowled with a lot of fire. Still, West Indies should have backed themselves to bat out the final day, considering their in-form batting line up. In hindsight, the early wickets they lost on the final day cost them the series. Had West Indies got off to a defiant start, the task would have become a lot easier for the Windies. But, the loss of Kraigg Braithwaite, Kirk Edwards and above all, Chris Gayle, inside the first ten overs put them under extreme pressure. They just couldn't recover from that point onwards.
Had the middle and lower order hung it out in the middle, West Indies might still have pulled off a draw. But, a lot of the players got starts and got out, which meant West Indies were never out of trouble. Over the years, Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been the man who has pulled West Indies out of the woods. This time as well, he threatened to keep the Kiwis in check, but did not last long enough to make a difference. There was an opportunity for Darren Bravo and skipper Denesh Ramdim to turn heroes, but they failed to grab the opportunity. Jason Holder and Shane Shillinford show resistance, but it was too late in the day.
Looking back, West Indies would rue the fact that they managed only 317 after restricting New Zealand to 293 in the first innings. Having bowled out the Kiwis for a total of under 300, they had an opportunity to build a significant lead. Instead, they failed to capitalise on the situation, again a number of their players falling after getting starts. A small lead meant New Zealand were back in the game, and West Indies just couldn't get a grip on their match again. After their batsmen faltered, their bowlers also failed to deliver, as a result of which New Zealand gained the ascendancy.
The Barbados Test was yet another case of the Windies failing to build on their gains in a match. They undoubtedly held the upper hand after day one, and any top side in the world would have utilised the chance to get a huge first-innings lead. Instead, West Indies crumbled even though there wasn't any kind of pressure on them. Even keeping aside the fact that New Zealand bowled brilliantly to come back, West Indies have only themselves to blame for the defeat.
--By A Cricket Analyst