WELLINGTON - The West Indies feel they have put the disappointment of their Test series against New Zealand behind them as they head into the second one-day international on Sunday full of confidence. Their two wicket win in the first ODI in Auckland on Boxing Day was the tonic the side needed coming off a 2-0 defeat in the three-Test series.
Although it was another unconvincing display with the bat in Auckland, the run-friendly McLean Park wicket in Napier offers the West Indies top order the chance to spend long spells in the middle on Sunday. Their front-line seamers Ravi Rampaul, Jason Holder and Dwayne Bravo, who were not part of the Test squad, had the measure of New Zealand in the first ODI as they dismissed their hosts for a modest 156 in the 43rd over.
"It was exactly what we wanted, the momentum going into the next few games," Holder said. "It wasn't the best Test series we wanted, but the captaincy has changed and the mood has changed and we're just in better spirits and heading forward." The West Indies will be forced into at least one change with key batsman Darren Bravo returning home Saturday for undisclosed personal reasons which will likely mean a promotion for Kirk Edwards into the playing XI. If New Zealand make a change it could be the introduction of speedster Adam Milne at the expense of Jimmy Neesham to give the side a genuine quick option. "That's something we've got to entertain the thought of," captain Brendon McCullum said as he weighed up wicket-taking options on a batsman's wicket.
"I guess you've got to try and balance it between that extra batter versus someone who can try and run through a team. It's something we've got to look at."
The toss will also be crucial with the relatively small McLean Park, where scores are hard to defend, tending to favour the side batting last. An added bonus for the side batting second is the prospect of showers which would bring Duckworth-Lewis into the reckoning if the game is shortened.