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West Indies were expected to put up so little fight in Adelaide that at the start of the day bookmakers were offering 14-1 on a surprise victory
December 4, 2009
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Matches: Australia v West Indies at Adelaide
Series/Tournaments: West Indies tour of Australia
West Indies were expected to put up so little fight in Adelaide that at the start of the day bookmakers were offering 14-1 on them producing a surprise victory. In a two-horse race, that was a damning assessment of the lack of respect in which they were held following their three-day thrashing at the Gabba.
By tea, the odds had come in to A$9 as they showed some serious fight. At stumps, having reached a thoroughly respectable 6 for 336, they had shortened again to $8. The Australian public might not have been holding out much hope of a tight contest but West Indies' opening-day centurion Dwayne Bravo said the players had too much pride to allow another Brisbane-style thumping.
"We knew we would not be bowled out like that again in this series," Bravo said. "It's going to be more difficult to beat us now. We are a team that is striving. The more we play will be better for us. You also know they are a very good team with very good players in their set-up. We have to respect that and understand that. We respect the Australian team and we're happy that after today's performance we'll get a bit more respect from them."
There wasn't an obvious lack of respect from the Australian players, although having taken 15 wickets on the third and final day at the Gabba they might have hoped for more than six breakthroughs in their first three sessions in Adelaide. Doug Bollinger, who picked up the first two wickets, said the hosts were content with their position.
"It's pretty even at the moment," Bollinger said. "We've got to try and get a couple of quick wickets tomorrow morning. We've just got the new ball, it's only five or six overs old and if we can grab a few quick ones early it's game on. It's a pretty good wicket and I'm backing us to get a few runs as well."
The day's outcome wasn't bad for Australia - the pitch was playing well and Chris Gayle had won the toss - but Bravo's century and a fighting 62 from Shivnarine Chanderpaul meant the Sir Frank Worrell Trophy wasn't safe in Australian hands just yet. Bravo said it had taken the squad some time to readjust to Test cricket last week but things were looking more positive.
"It was six months that the team had not played together as a team," Bravo said. "Our preparation coming up to here was not the best. We were playing in a limited-overs tournament back home and a lot of the guys didn't have much cricket under their belt. We had one warm-up game against Queensland. It was very difficult for us to come up against one of the best teams in the world and beat them."
For a while it looked like West Indies were going to deliver another disappointing day, when they went to lunch three wickets down having chosen to bat. The early damage came courtesy of Bollinger, who removed both openers, and his contest with Gayle was especially fascinating after Gayle struggled to remember Bollinger's name on the eve of the Test.
"It didn't really bother me," Bollinger said of Gayle's comments. "I've had worse things said about me. It was just good to bowl well and get him out, to get two quick wickets for the team and that's all I can do."
But when asked if Gayle, who tried to cut a ball that was too close to his body and edged behind, might now remember his name Bollinger couldn't resist a little dig. "I'm sure he saw it on the scoreboard, mate."
The delivery that snared Gayle bounced more than the batsman expected but throughout the day there wasn't much assistance for the bowlers. Bollinger wasn't tipping another three-day encounter on this occasion.
"The Gabba is probably faster and bouncier," Bollinger said. "This is a really, really good wicket, so you've just got to adjust your game and adjust your plans."
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