England demolition before home crowd ‘special’, says Roach

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Windies pace bowler Kemar Roach.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Veteran seamer Kemar Roach said his demolition of England on Thursday’s second day of the opening Test was “special”, especially since it marked his first five-wicket haul before his home crowd at Kensington Oval.

The 30-year-old snatched five for 17 from 11 overs as England folded for a venue-low 77, also their fourth lowest total against West Indies.

“It’s a great feeling. I’m very proud of my achievement,” the Barbadian told reporters.
“I’ve been around for a while and to be able to run in at home and obviously get my first five at home is a special, special feeling. I figure I’ve bowled better before but today is definitely one of the more special ones.

“England are number two in the world, a great side and to go and put some balls in some good areas and get some wickets like that is a great feeling.”

He added: “I’ve been putting the work in in the nets … and I felt really good at the crease and the ball came out very well. It’s always tough bowling but today I put the work in and I obviously got the rewards.”

Replying to West Indies’ first innings of 289, England reached 30 for one without much alarm but then suffered a stunning collapse in the second session, losing their last nine wickets for 47 runs.

Left-handed opener Keaton Jennings was the top-scorer with 17 as every England batsman struggled against the Windies four-pronged pace attack comprising skipper Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph.

“We had good plans, good strategic plans [in the] team meetings and the guys went out there and obviously hit the nail on the head, and that includes all the bowlers,” Roach explained.

“Today (yesterday) it was my day but in the second innings it could be someone else and I think the guys have been very, very disciplined and proud of how they bowled out England for 77.”

He continued: “We communicate very well. There’s a great bond in the team with me, Shannon, Alzarri coming back in and Jason, are fantastic. The four of us have played together already and we know each other’s bowling so we communicate very well with each other. We pick on certain things and pass any information on.”

Despite earning a lead of 212 runs, the Windies opted not to enforce the follow-on, and reached 127 for six at the close – an overall lead of 339 runs heading into Friday’s day three.

And Roach said the increasingly unpredictable nature of the pitch had been behind their decision to bat again.

“I thought it quickened up a bit … with a little bit more bounce – uneven bounce – but it’s all about putting the ball in the right areas,” he said.

“Once you do that as consistently as possible, you’re going to create a lot more chances, a lot more pressure so I think we did that very well … as a bowling team.

“I think 400 is obviously the target – I think 400 on that pitch is going to be pretty tough. It’s not out of the way but I think once we bowl in the right areas we should stop England getting 400 runs.”

He added: “We don’t want to bat on the last day of the pitch. It looks like a tough pitch to bat last on. It’s a little bit uneven so I think batting last would be very tough for us. We think it was best we had another hit and go at the English again.”

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