June 8 (Reuters) – West Indies coach Phil Simmons is looking to his improving pace attack to steer the side to a first ever test series victory over South Africa when the teams start the first of two matches in St Lucia on Thursday.
The wicket at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground looks as though it will suit the seamers, which is a strength of both sides, and according to Simmons provides his team with the best chance of bowling the tourists out twice.
“The improvement I would like to see for this series is our ability to take 20 wickets,” he told reporters. “We did in Bangladesh on helpful pitches, and when the pitch was not helpful in Antigua (against Pakistan), we struggled.
“Our fast bowling department has been strong for long now. They are the ones that have kept us in matches, bowling out teams when it did not appear likely.”
South Africa are a team in transition having lost a number of senior players to retirement in recent years, especially in the batting department. But Simmons has warned his side not to be complacent.
“Any team you come up against, you have to look for where you can exploit them. They are very strong at the top with the captain (Dean Elgar) and then later down the order with guys like (Quinton) de Kock.
“We have to step it up and be 100% better than we were when we played our last game. We are up to six (in the test rankings) and that is just the start of things.
“We want to be up at the top and we have to play as though we want to be there.”
West Indies have won only three of their 28 tests against South Africa, the last victory in 2007. This will be the first time they have met in the longer format since 2015. (Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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