Bridgetown: West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson remained optimistic about winning the opening Test against Australia after they threw away the advantage with a shocking batting collapse on the fourth day. West Indies lost three wickets for four runs in a 25-minute period before tea here on Tuesday and stumbled to the close on 71 for 5, a lead of only 114 runs heading into Wednesday's final day at the Kensington Oval.
"If you look at the way we played the first three days, winning was always our intention so we had a couple of bad hours today but that doesn't change the way we've gone about the game," a positive Gibson said. "I think both teams have gone about the game in a very positive way so we're still looking for a positive result. You stay positive. The contest is a five-day contest and we dominated three days of the five day contest. Yes we had a bad day today but one bad day doesn't negate the first three days we've had.
"We'll continue to believe in what we've done for the first three days, we'll learn from today and … tomorrow [Wednesday] will be a tough day. It can swing either way. If we come and we get a good start, they don't get that early wicket that they're looking for … 200, 220 will be a tough score to chase on that wicket," he said.
West Indies had started strongly, reducing Australia from their overnight 248 for 5 to 285 for 8, before being held up by successive stubborn partnerships. Ryan Harris, who hit a career-best 68 not out, put on 44 for the eighth wicket with Ben Hilfenhaus (24) before adding an unbroken 77 for the last wicket with Nathan Lyon (40 not out).
With a lead of 43, West Indies' batting then collapsed before Darren Bravo (32) and Narsingh Deonarine (20 not out) patched up the innings with a 50-run fifth wicket stand. Bravo went near the close, leaving Deonarine and Baugh, unbeaten, to see out the nervous final moments.
"It's just been a tough day. But as I said, we managed to hang in still so all is not lost. We regroup tonight and come back tomorrow. We've got  on the board so far, if we can put another 100 with that, you've seen how difficult it is to score on the pitch, so chasing 200 could still be a very good challenge for them," said Gibson.
The performance was the first real poor one for West Indies in the match, after they racked up 449 for 9 declared in their first innings and then bowled well to limit Australia's top batsmen. However, Gibson reminded that the erratic performances were as a result of young inexperienced team that was still developing.
"It's a very young team, it's a developing team. We went to India and we were in similar situations and it would seem we haven't learnt that lesson yet but we are learning all the time," he said. "We're dominating top teams. Of course we're dominating two, three days of a five-day contest and in Test cricket, one bad hour, one bad session can make the difference between winning and losing. We're learning all the time and in terms of our development, this is a good opportunity for us to learn."