AFP - Touring skipper Jason Holder insisted his West Indies team's massive innings defeat to Australia in the first Test on Saturday was not a step backwards.
It was groundhog day again for the Caribbean tourists after an innings and 212-run loss well inside three days in Hobart after being sent back in and bowled out for 148 off just 36.3 overs in the second innings.
The West Indies have won just four of their last 21 Tests and are ranked above only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. They last won a Test in Australia in 1997.
"I wouldn't say it's a step backwards, obviously in the past we've shown that we can compete," Holder told reporters.
"We had a really good series against England where we competed really well and then the Australians came in after that and we fell back a little bit.
"But in a sense the spirit in the dressing room is still there, we had a few one-day series and then we had first-class cricket back home where players from here did well.
"So it's just a case where we need to put together a collective effort for longer periods in the game.
"I just felt we have too many good spurts of cricket (that) we're not continuing on through the duration of the game. We need to do the good things longer." Holder, who leads the side at the young age of 24, refused to buy into the problems with cricket administration in the Caribbean after decades of underperforming Windies sides from the halcyon days of the 1980s and early 1990s.
"I'm sure many cricket pundits and people around the world have many opinions, but my job is just to focus on cricket," he said diplomatically.
"I can't really focus on anything else at this point in time, we've brought a squad down here to play cricket and that's exactly what I'm going to do."
Australia captain Steve Smith said there was talent in the young Windies team which needed time. "I think they've got some very capable players. We saw that with the way Darren Bravo (108) played and Kraigg Brathwaite (94) today," Smith said.
"They've certainly got some talented players that we have to be wary about.
"The game was in the balance at one point and if they had got another couple of quick wickets they could have gone through us, but we were able absorb a bit of pressure and build that big partnership and change the course of the game."
The tourists have a two-day game against a Victorian XI in Geelong from December 19-20 as their only match preparation for the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, starting on December 26.