SHIMAGO, India -- After his nine-wicket heroics in the opening four-day unofficial ‘Test’ match, Nikita Miller, believes he can repeat the performance when the West Indies A team face India A in the second match.
The experienced left-arm spinner had match figures of 9-101 off 71.4 overs to bowl the Windies to victory in Mysore. In an inspired spell with the new ball in the second innings, he picked up 5-40 off 36.4 overs to follow up his 4-61 off 35 overs.
Miller said he was happy with his effort in the match, as well as his resolute 49 with the bat in the West Indies first innings. However, he has kept his feet on the ground and plans to “go back to hard work” when the second match bowls off on Wednesday.
“I’m always on a mission. I’m always looking to make the most of every opportunity and perform well. Things worked out really well for me in the first match so I’m pleased with my effort and my success for the team,” Miller said.
“It was a pitch where you wanted to bat first. We did that and posted a score of over 400 (429) which was a great batting effort. The plan was to get them out as cheaply as possible in first innings after we played so well.
“The coach [Junior Bennett] always says ‘you set up the game in the first innings’ and that exactly when we looked to do.”
Miller's first-class record is quite impressive – 285 wickets at the phenomenal average of 15.50 runs per wicket in 57 matches. He has taken 17 five-wicket hauls and five hauls of 10-or-more in a match.
After his dominance in the first innings, Miller was asked to use the new ball by skipper Kirk Edwards, when West Indies A set India 314 to win on the final day. It proved a brilliant move and Miller responded.
“I didn’t expect it. In the morning the captain asked me how I felt about the new ball. I said ‘anything you want me to do I will do’. My idea was to keep it tight from one end and let the other bowlers attack from the other end,” he explained.
“When I was batting I was watching the game really closely and got a good feel of how the pitch was playing. I found when the spinners bowled, it was easier to score when they bowled slowly. I took note of that and realised I had to bowl a bit quicker than normal.
“When you quickened up the pace, the ball came on and created problems. Some balls were standing up and some were keeping low. [The pitch] offered something for the spinners and I decided to exploit it.
“We came away with a superb victory and that’s what we wanted.”
The second ‘Test’ will be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru National College of Engineering Ground. First ball is 12 midnight Wednesday Eastern Caribbean Time/11 pm Tuesday Jamaica Time.