Roach brings it home with the bat
Kemar Roach demonstrated the new level of confidence in the West Indies team as he played a fantastic innings to lead the team to victory in the second Test match on Sunday morning. Roach made a Test-best score of 41 off 60 balls as the West Indies sped to 206-5 to win by five wickets in the first session of the fourth day, and spark celebrations at Sabina Park.
It gave the West Indies a clean-sweep of the two-match Test Series as they showcased their dominance over the Black Caps. Roach added a priceless 70 runs for the fifth wicket with veteran Shiv Chanderpaul, who ended on 43 not out and had the honour of hitting the winning run.
The 24-year-old Roach won the Man-of-the-Series award - mainly for his bowling - which brought him 12 wickets at an impressive average of 18.25 runs per wicket. He is the joint leading bowler in Test cricket this year with 39 wickets in just seven matches at an average of 22.25 runs.
Roach was beaming after the match as he and team-mates joined fans in celebrations. It has been a weekend of merriment in Jamaicans as they bask in the glory of their athletes at the Summer Olympic Games in London and get ready to commemorate the island's 50th anniversary of Independence on Monday.
"I'm delighted...we're all delighted to win. This is a time for celebrations. This is my first Test series win in the Caribbean so you can understand how pleased I am to be part of a winning set-up," Roach said. "We are winning games and the spirit in the dressing room is tremendous. I don't think I have quite had this much enjoyment since I came into the West Indies team. We will look to go forward from here and win more games.
"We will enjoy the moment because winning is hard. It doesn't come easy and to come here leading 1-0 and take another big win to make it 2-0 gives us every reason to celebrate. We never doubted ourselves, even when we went behind in the first innings. We knew we could hit back and get this result...it feels great!"
The 2-0 series win was the West Indies' first series victory since they beat Bangladesh 1-0 away from home last October. The last home series win was against England in 2009 when Chris Gayle's team won 1-0 to take the prestigious Wisden Trophy. The last series win over New Zealand was at home back in 1996 with Courtney Walsh at the helm.
Roach said: "It was quite tough with the ball but there is a job to do for the West Indies and I enjoy every moment out there on the cricket field. You have to go out there and always give your best shot. I am one of the leading bowlers in the team so I had to put in the work required. It gets tough at times but it's also enjoyable when you get wickets. On the flat pitches, the batsmen find it easy to score, but you have to assess every situation and plan your strategy accordingly.
"I like when the pitch bounces a bit more, any bowler would prefer that, but you don't always get what you want. I have been trying to bowl a lot straighter and make the batsmen play a lot more - that has been my strategy this year and it has paid off. The straighter I bowl the more they have to play and we get opportunities."
Roach added: "As you saw today, it's not just with the ball, but I also try to make contributions with the bat and in the field. I was in overnight with Shiv and I told myself I would back my ability and play some shots. I knew they would expect me to come in and block so I changed my game plan and it worked. Yesterday (Saturday) we saw how Narsingh Deonarine stepped up with the ball, and he's a batsman, so I said it was my turn with the bat today and I was happy to do my job. The highest Test score was a bonus.
"It has been a long summer this year for us - we played against Australia at home then we went to England and then returned home to play against New Zealand, but we have coped well and we have reason to celebrate. As I said before, there is a job to be done and I will keep going at it."