'We need to rally around each other' - Collymore
Corey Collymore has demanded greater consistency from his fast-bowling partners after their stranglehold over Australia slipped in the final session. Australia were stumbling at 4 for 111 when Collymore struck a three-pronged burst after lunch, but West Indies did not deliver the follow-up blows as the support staff struggled with their length.
While Collymore was riding a tight line and moving the ball teasingly, his team-mates dropped short on the fast surface and failed to support their senior man, who delivered a fine performance with 4 for 47 from 18 overs. "I don't think they got lost, but it's all about consistency and that's what we all need to work on," he said. "My performance was allright, but the team needs a bit more support and we need to rally around each other."
Australia finished the opening day of the three-Test series strongly, with Brett Lee and Shane Warne sharing a 46-run stand after Ricky Ponting's 149, and Collymore was disappointed with the escape to 7 for 340. "Our position is okay, but it's not very good after having them at 100-odd for four," he said. "We should have capitalised on the start and if we tried to keep the run-rate down it would have been a better position for us."
Collymore's best delivery was a legcutter to remove Michael Clarke and he was also rewarded for his accuracy with important lbw decisions to Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. However, he was used only to start the final session and while he was fielding Australia pulled ahead. "It wasn't just in the last one [they got away] but a little bit before that," he said. "When the captain and vice-captain were batting I thought we should have taken a few more wickets."
The four-man pace attack dawdled through their overs - they were still three behind when play ended 30 minutes behind schedule - and Collymore said it was necessary to "get around a bit quicker". Ponting was also concerned by the slow rate and said it was "not quite good enough".
However, the Collymore-induced mini-collapse was more of a worry with Clarke and Simon Katich failing to reach double figures. "It's always a concern but it's one thing you always talk about: you have to have partnerships," Ponting said. "All teams guard against it, but it can happen and we will speak about it. But Collymore bowled very well, he's a little bit like Glenn McGrath, just not as tall."
Ponting's mature century ensured a "satisfying day" but he felt his batting grew worse towards the conclusion of an innings that moved him to fourth on Australia's all-time run list. "In the morning I felt in control, but maybe I got a bit tired or weary from not playing a long one for a while," he said. "I didn't feel as comfortable towards the end as I did at the start, which is pretty unusual."
When caught at midwicket off Jermaine Lawson, Ponting had passed David Boon (7422 runs) and Mark Taylor (7525) and joined Greg Chappell and Viv Richards on 24 Test centuries. "To tell you the truth it's something I don't think about," he said. "If I was worried about stats I would have known that already. I wouldn't know how many Tests Viv played and he'll be regarded a better player than me. I'm just happy with the way things worked out today for us."
Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo