Jason Holder says England’s record Test wicket-taker James Anderson was the inspiration for him to add a more patient approach to his bowling armoury.
The West Indies captain returned career-best figures of 6-42 as his side rolled England over for 204 to take control on day two of the first Test at Southampton.
Recalling West Indies’ previous tour of England in 2017, the all-rounder revealed that the example set by Anderson – who captured his 500th Test wicket during that series – motivated him to adapt his own style.
“My patience has definitely increased,” Holder told Sky Sports. “I guess before I was trying to bowl too many deliveries in one spell.
“Last time we were here and Jimmy was on 499, he was bowling to (Devendra) Bishoo and taking everything away from him. I was just waiting for the inswinger, waiting for the inswinger and he never showed it.
“I just said to myself ‘if he’s that good and he’s getting the results he’s got over the years, he must be doing something well’.
“Then I started to watch a few things from Glenn McGrath as well because I think our styles are similar – we’re maybe not as quick as a Jofra Archer or a Shannon Gabriel.
“Patience was one of the things I was probably lacking, trying to bowl maybe three outswingers and then an inswinger in the same over. It’s more or less knowing you have the weapons and knowing when to try and deliver them.”
Holder’s performance represented his seventh Test haul of five or more wickets, but an impressive economy rate of 2.10 – the best among West Indies’ four seamers – was also crucial in stifling the home side’s first innings.
A sixth-wicket stand of 67 between Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler briefly threatened to hand England the initiative, but Holder had both caught behind in quick succession before he and Gabriel (4-62) cleaned up the tail.
“That partnership was looking deadly at one stage and then we put down Ben at fine leg and extra cover,” said the 28-year-old.
“But I backed myself to come back and tie it down and try to nip one or two out as well. It’s really my role, to just keep things tidy.
“Shannon was outstanding, he came in after not playing cricket for a while and we were able to use him in sharp bursts, to let him run in and express himself. To me his consistency was pretty good.”
The visitors will resume on Friday in the driving seat, trailing England by 147 after reaching 57 for the loss of John Campbell, lbw to Anderson before bad light brought play to a close.
“It was always my plan to bowl first. I was a little surprised England decided to bat, but it worked out well for us,” added Holder.
“If you asked me at the start of the game, ‘would I take 200 all out?’ I’d definitely take it. So I think it’s all to play for but it’s crucial that we get past this new-ball phase.”
Watch day three of the first #raisethebat Test between England and West Indies live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30am on Friday.