Australia v West Indies, 2nd Test, Adelaide December 3, 2009

Under-fire West Indies hope for change of fortune

Match facts

December 4-8, 2009
Start time 10.30am (00.00 GMT)

Big Picture

Things couldn't have gone much worse for West Indies at the Gabba, where their innings loss within three days suggested a huge gap between the teams. To add to their problems, the strike bowler Jerome Taylor has been ruled out of the rest of the series with a back injury, leaving an already young and developing attack even greener. The only bright spot was the debut of the opener Adrian Barath, whose 104 in the second innings was a supremely positive sign for a team that otherwise was out of sorts. At 1-0 down, their chances of regaining the Sir Frank Worrell Trophy are very slim but at the very least the team must produce a more competitive effort in the second Test.

An Australian victory over the next five days will mean Ricky Ponting's men retain the trophy after winning it 2-0 in the Caribbean last year but as well as the result, there are several interesting sub-plots developing for the home side. Shane Watson's duck at the Gabba means if he fails again the pressure will build to drop him down the order. Michael Hussey's first Test half-century won't save him from questions over his future if he doesn't score decent runs in Adelaide. And in the absence of the Man of the Match from Brisbane, Ben Hilfenhaus, who is injured, the Australians will unleash a self-described "loud and obnoxious" Doug Bollinger for his second Test.

Another three-day result is extremely unlikely at Adelaide Oval, where runs in the middle flow as freely as the beer on the hill. The short boundaries square of the wicket give bowlers little room for error and the pitch doesn't tend to play serious tricks. Any sixes that land where the western grandstand used to be could result in a short delay - the stand has been largely demolished since last year's Test and is still a building site.

Form guide (last five Tests, most recent first)

Australia - WLWDL
West Indies - LLLLL

Watch out for

Brad Haddin stamped himself as a Test batsman at this venue last year when he brutalised New Zealand with 169. He looked in fine touch at the Gabba without going on to post a big score. He is the kind of player who can change a match a short space of time and West Indies' bowlers will need to be on target to keep him quiet.

Chris Gayle's supreme power square of the wicket makes him a dangerous proposition at Adelaide Oval. He will barely need to get hold of a pull or flick to see it sailing over the boundary. His record at the venue isn't great - his only two international innings there have brought him 11 runs in a pair of one-day internationals in 2004-05 - but Gayle will be extra keen to lead by example after his disappointing returns in Brisbane.

Team news

Hilfenhaus has been rested due to his ongoing knee problem and Bollinger will come into the XI. That is the only change to the successful side, with Victoria's Clint McKay preparing to carry the drinks.

Australia 1 Simon Katich, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 Michael Clarke, 6 Marcus North, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Nathan Hauritz, 10 Peter Siddle, 11 Doug Bollinger.

Ramnaresh Sarwan batted at training on Thursday and is likely to return to the side having missed the Gabba Test due to a back injury. Despite providing some much-needed fight in Brisbane, Travis Dowlin is likely to be the man to miss out. Their other task is to find a replacement for Taylor and the selectors were deciding between Darren Sammy and Gavin Tonge, with Sammy's batting ability perhaps giving him the edge.

West Indies (possible) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Adrian Barath, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Brendan Nash, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Ravi Rampaul.

Pitch and conditions

The Adelaide Oval surface holds few demons and good batsmen can play through the line with confidence in the bounce, and pounce on shorter balls knowing the square boundaries are in their favour. There is more grass on the pitch than usual, which pleased Ponting when he inspected the ground on Thursday. "It is always a good sign in Adelaide," Ponting said. "It generally means that there'll be a bit more pace and movement and carry early on in the game, which is always good." The weather throughout the Test is expected to be fine and partly cloudy, with temperatures hovering in the mid 20s.

Stats and Trivia

  • Australia have lost one Test at Adelaide Oval in the past 14 years - against India in 2003-04
  • Despite the Gabba result, don't expect another three-day encounter - not since West Indies beat Australia in 1951 has an Adelaide Test failed to reach a fourth day
  • Michael Clarke will be especially looking forward to the Test - three of his past four Test innings at Adelaide Oval have been centuries
  • Adrian Barath's 104 on debut at the Gabba made him the youngest West Indian to score a Test century - he was almost exactly a year younger than the next on the list, the great George Headley

Quotes

"Everyone is going to be disappointed. We played terrible cricket. That's the scenario at this time. We're just trying not to listen to too much negativity."
Chris Gayle

"One thing we didn't quite nail last week was the amount of guys that got off to starts and didn't go on and get the big hundred. We've spoken about that in our team meeting this morning and it's something that we want to improve on."
Ricky Ponting

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo