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Ambris ‘freak dismissal’

Published: 
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Sunil Ambris

It’s never happened before to West Indies batsman Sunil Ambris, and his coach Stuart Law is confident his “freak dismissal” will never happen again.

On Test debut, the 24-year-old from St Vincent made history for all the wrong reasons when he was out hit wicket first ball against New Zealand’s Neil Wagner yesterday, the first day of the opening Test match in Wellington.

He was sixth batsman in test cricket to be dismissed first ball, hit wicket, but the first on debut after he was forced back to play a Wagner short delivery and trod on his stumps, on day one of the first test in Wellington.

“He showed no emotion, he walked back in the dressing room and shrugged his shoulders. Bad luck. There’s a few guys who’ve got out first ball on test debut and they’ve gone on to be pretty good,” Law said.

“Sunil’s a class player, he was picked on form and he got 150 the other day against a pretty good [New Zealand A] attack. He’s disappointed, it’s a freak dismissal and I’m hoping he doesn’t step on them again.”

Law was confident Ambris had never been dismissed that way in his 38 first-class matches on much slower Caribbean pitches than the bouncy Basin Reserve.

The coach was unimpressed with his batsmen after they were skittled for 134 in 45.4 overs. Wagner was the chief destroyer, snaring a career-best 7-39 with six of his seven victims falling to the short ball.

“We’ve been crying out for wickets that provide entertainment, a bit of a challenge for both bat and ball. The batsmen are all bitterly disappointed with their effort. I know we’re a lot better than how we performed today,” Law said.

“Wagner’s a funny character. He’s not very tall and not super quick but his bumper skids, it doesn’t really bounce and that can be off-putting. Some can go over your head and some skid at your throat. Fair play to him, he bowled well and bowled aggressively and we helped him out with a few freebies.”

Law’s West Indies side have fought back strongly in the past, beating England at Headingley this year after going 1-0 down. They’re fresh from a hard-fought 1-0 win over Zimbabwe on slow, dreary pitches and Law backed them to recover in this two-test series.

At stumps on day one New Zealand were 85-2, a deficit of just 49, after captain Jason Holder led the way with the ball.

“[A deficit] of 50 would be great,” Law quipped. “I believe in our players and we’re good enough to bowl New Zealand out as cheap as we possibly can. Whether that’s 350 depends on this partnership and you’ve got some dangerous players towards the bottom.

“Ross Taylor is the big wicket and if we can get him early anything’s possible. A lead of 100-150 sounds a lot but I believe in our players and if they put their minds to it that’s a pretty good batting wicket.”

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