Doug who? Bollinger grabs new-ball duties
Doug Bollinger claims he's loud and obnoxious but that hasn't stopped him slipping completely under the radar of the West Indies camp. Bollinger will take the new ball against Chris Gayle and Adrian Barath in the second Test at the Adelaide Oval and is certain to let the visiting captain know who he is after Gayle revealed on the day before the match that he hadn't looked into Bollinger's credentials.
"Two left-armers - we'll see how well we can go about it," Gayle said, when asked about facing Bollinger and Mitchell Johnson. "What's the other guy's name? Bollinger? Bollinger. This will be the first time I am going up against him. It's a challenge. I haven't seen much of him to be honest with you. I'm sure we'll get some clippings and take a look at him and see what we can make of him."
Most people don't quite know what to make of Bollinger, who has come in to the side to play his second Test after Ben Hilfenhaus was ruled out with a knee problem. Hilfenhaus was the Man of the Match at the Gabba, where he collected five wickets for the game and made key top-order breakthroughs in both innings.
Gayle wouldn't mind seeing the back of Hilfenhaus, who in both innings trapped him lbw with deliveries shaping back in to the left-hander. It's an angle that Gayle is vulnerable to early in his innings but Ricky Ponting still felt his attack had the ability to target Gayle's stumps early in the innings, even without the swing of Hilfenhaus.
"The left-armers can still do that," Ponting said. "That angle that the left-armers create actually does bring the ball back in towards the stumps. If Mitch and Doug aren't actually bowling genuine outswingers to him then the ball is always going to be pitching in and around off stump and straightening back that way. That's similar to the way we got him out at the Gabba. We did get him out trying to bowl really straight to Chris at the Gabba and there's no doubt that we'll do something pretty similar here."
The addition of Bollinger to Australia's attack robs it of only a small amount of Test experience, while the visitors have lost Jerome Taylor, their most qualified fast man, to a back injury. West Indies' green line-up provides Australia's batsmen with an excellent opportunity at a ground that is always hard work for the fast bowlers. After five Australians made half-centuries in Brisbane but none converted them to hundreds, Ponting was keen to see some bat-raising and helmet-kissing.
"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," Ponting said. "We've spoken about that in our team meeting this morning and it's something that we want to improve on. We all know how good a wicket this can be to bat on once you get in and get set so with an inexperienced attack, we'd like to think that the experience in our batting should be able to get us through and we should be able to make some big runs in the game."
The one man who did miss out completely in Brisbane was Shane Watson, who is still trying to prove that he can be a long-term Test opener. His duck in Brisbane looked particularly bad because he was trapped leaving a delivery that cut back into him, and Ponting said although Watson was vulnerable to lbws early in his innings, he was confident the allrounder could turn things around in Adelaide.
"It hasn't only been in Test cricket, he's been out a bit in one-day cricket as well lbw," Ponting said. "He's very much aware of that. He works on that all the time. The one up at the Gabba the other day is probably an unusual lbw in the fact you let one go that nips back on you early on. I don't think there was too much technically wrong with what he did last week. With a good batting wicket here and an inexperienced attack hopefully he's one of the guys that can make some big runs for us."
While Australia will be looking to Watson and Co to provide the runs, West Indies will rely heavily on their experienced men Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, who is likely to return from a back injury, and Gayle. The West Indies captain just has to hope that the name that troubled him - "Bollinger?" - isn't written beside his own on the scorecard too early in the innings.
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo