Gros Islet: Windies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel has made a huge jump to take a career-best 12th position in the ICC Test Player Rankings after his Man of the Match effort in the drawn second Test against Sri Lanka in St Lucia, which ended on Monday.
The 30-year-old from Trinidad and Tobago has gained 11 places after finishing the match with 13 for 121, the third-best match haul ever by a Windies bowler. Gabriel has reached 754 rating points while his previous best was 636 points and an 18th place in August last year. Gabriel’s team-mates Roston Chase (up one place to 38th) and captain Jason Holder (up one place to 64th) were the others to gain in the latest update.
The ball-tampering incident might have been the more talked about part of the second Test between West Indies and Sri Lanka in Gros Islet, but the action in the middle was pretty riveting, and when it ended, the home side were 147/5 in their chase of 296, leaving one wondering what might have happened with a few more hours of cricket.
Sri Lanka, after losing the first of three Tests by 226 runs, came back well, but the star of the Test was Gabriel. With returns of 5/59 and 8/62, the paceman had his best innings and match figures and also reached the 100-wicket mark in the process in his 34th Test.
“It's a great feeling,” he said afterwards of reaching the milestone. “If someone told me, ‘Shannon, you'll play Tests and take 100 wickets’, I would've told him, ‘you're crazy!’ I'd like to thank family and friends for supporting me.
“I was prepared well for this series, getting myself fit. As long as you get wickets, pains and aches go away. I was supported well by Kemar (Roach), he was unlucky. Miguel Cummins kept coming at the batsmen. (Jason) Holder was also very good. Anything other than a loss is good. We can take plenty of positives from this Test.”
Player of the Match is Shannon Gabriel! He recorded the best match figures by a West Indian Test player in the Caribbean. What an unbelievable performance from the big man, 13 wickets! 🔥#WIvSL pic.twitter.com/ZWvOeUbY7h— ICC (@ICC) June 18, 2018
Player of the Match is Shannon Gabriel! He recorded the best match figures by a West Indian Test player in the Caribbean. What an unbelievable performance from the big man, 13 wickets! 🔥#WIvSL pic.twitter.com/ZWvOeUbY7h
One of the problems for the Windies was the number of no-balls they bowled, on occasion missing out on wickets as a result too.
“Getting wickets off no-balls is a concern, something we need to pay attention to.We were better overall, were a lot more behind the line. But it hasn't gone unnoticed,” said Holder, the Windies captain who himself was guilty of the offence on one occasion.
On the whole, though, Holder was happy to hold on to end the game on level terms and carry the 1-0 advantage into the final Test, a day-night affair in Barbados from 23 June.
“We played reasonable cricket, probably not at our best,” he said. “We weren't as consistent and disciplined as we should have been. They played well. All in all, a decent effort, I thought we were more clinical in Trinidad.”
Sri Lanka, distracted by the events on the third day when the umpires changed the match ball and awarded the Windies five penalty runs and the aftermath of it – captain Dinesh Chandimal has been charged for altering the condition of the ball – battled well and got into a position they could push on for a win from. On the final day, well as Kraigg Brathwaite played in scoring 59*, poor weather came to the Windies’ aid too.
“I'm really happy with the way we played through the five days, we played outstanding cricket. Weather permitting, there was a chance, but pleased overall,” said Chandimal, who scored 119* and 39 in a good Test personally.
“Credit to the West Indies bowling attack, they've got some good bowlers. It's hard to score big runs in these conditions. We have to improve a little more as a team. Credit also to Gabriel, his hard work has paid off.”