Newlands: West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin said on Thursday that the main benefit of playing in South Africa was the opportunity for his young side to absorb some of the lessons that have made the hosts the number one team in the world.
Speaking ahead of the third and final Test starting at Newlands on Friday, Ramdin said he hoped the West Indies would continue the improvement they had shown in the rain-hit drawn second Test after being beaten by an innings and 220 runs in the first contest.
"We made a slow start to the tour. Now we are gaining momentum," he said.
"Going into the third game, it is going to be a different atmosphere here, we can really enjoy it. It`s a new year, hopefully we can change some things. We are playing against the number one team in the world. If we can take some of the things they do, we can probably move up against the rankings."
Asked to identify specific areas where they could learn from South Africa, Ramdin said: "Their bowlers don`t bowl a lot of bad balls. Our bowlers bowl too many bad balls. Their batters don`t give many chances. You can`t give them opportunities because they score big hundreds. Sometimes our batters play too freely."
Ramdin said there was a good chance the West Indies would go into the Test with an unchanged team, which would mean having only six specialist batsmen, together with four seam bowlers and spinner Suleiman Benn.
"Playing six batsmen has worked for us," said Ramdin. "It puts a bit more pressure on the batters. It did work for a bit because Marlon (Samuels) and Kraigg (Brathwaite) had a big partnership. Unfortunately Shiv (Chanderpaul) and myself didn`t get some runs. It could have been different. If Shiv and myself score runs and the lower order chip in we can get 350."
One change Ramdin is likely to make, if he wins the toss, is to bat first.
In the first two Tests he sent South Africa in but he said he expected a good pitch.
"The last time we played here (in 2007/08) a lot of runs were scored so if we get the opportunity we`ll try to bat first."
South African opening bowler Vernon Philander said the hosts were looking forward to playing at an iconic venue where they have had much success.
"It`s a place we like to play. The boys are all geared up. Newlands always has something in it for the bowlers on days one and two.
"It`s always a good cricket wicket. It will have a bit more pace and bounce than Port Elizabeth."