WICB President's XI v Australians, Bridgetown, 2nd day

Tourists suspect against spin - Baugh

Daniel Brettig in Barbados

April 3, 2012

Comments: 50 | Text size: A | A

Devendra Bishoo lets it rip, West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd Test, 1st day, St Kitts, May 20, 2011
Devendra Bishoo has been hidden from Australia's view so far on this tour © Associated Press

Carlton Baugh, the West Indies wicketkeeper, has openly questioned Australia's readiness to battle the spin of Devendra Bishoo after the tourists were made to look ordinary by a modest pair of local slow bowlers in their only warm-up for the Caribbean Test series.

Having struggled to read and play the offbreaks and variations of the IPL-bound Sunil Narine in the limited-overs matches, Australia's batsmen will soon be pitted against Bishoo, winner of the ICC's Emerging Player of the Year award for 2011 after a series of wily performances against India's spin-conversant batsmen at home and away.

Bishoo's four most recent appearances for Guyana in the regional first-class competition have reaped 24 wickets, and his skills are far in advance of those used by Ryan Austin and the part-time wrist-spinner Nkrumah Bonner at the Three Ws Oval. Baugh had little hesitation pointing this out, and also Australia's periodic difficulties against quality slow bowlers down the decades.

"To be honest, over the years Australia doesn't play spin that well," Baugh said. "Not taking away anything from them, they're pretty good players, but tradition follows on from the years that they're not the best players of spin.

"It is pretty interesting because Austin is a natural offspin bowler and Bonner is pretty much a part-time legspin bowler, so it was pretty interesting to see what others can do, especially Devendra Bishoo and other spin bowlers."

Bishoo was hidden from Australia's view during the ODIs and Twenty20s, and Baugh said this sleight of hand "could be [an advantage], and on Bishoo's day you never know what can happen".

Watching from behind the stumps as captain of the WICB President's XI, Baugh saw Michael Clarke make a smooth 30 and Ricky Ponting a brief 13. He reasoned that the visitors' preference for faster surfaces had contributed to a mediocre first innings of 214 for 9 declared.

"Today for them wasn't the best day in terms of how the wicket was playing, they are accustomed to wickets coming on just like in Australia," Baugh said. "This wicket wasn't the best and they struggled a little bit. Hopefully when the Test matches start if we can continue to keep them on that road, eventually we should surprise them.

"Our team is growing in confidence and you can see what we've been putting in and it's paying off, so we're just taking it one step at a time, and hopefully we can be very much competitive, just like the one-day series. They weren't at their best as you can see and they played a few batters short, but at the same time it is the Australian team and I think we bowled pretty well in patches. To restrict them to 214 even though they had declared, we still got nine wickets and that is a plus for us."

Shane Watson, the touring vice-captain, admitted the Australians were "not entirely" happy with how they had gone in their pursuit of a smooth segue to day one of the series.

"We would have liked guys going on to get bigger scores and a bit more consistent batting but the practice matches are here for the guys to adjust to conditions as well as we can and get some time in the middle," Watson said. "It's certainly better than training. It's more to get out of it as much as you can. So far most batters have had enough time in the middle to get their head around their game plans are going to be on these types of wickets."

As for Bishoo, Watson said he was formulating his method to combat the Guyanese legspinner. "I've seen a fair bit of him already because there was a chance he was going to play the one-day series and the Twenty20s," Watson said. "I've already had a fair look at his footage so far and I've seen the way he bowled throughout the World Cup for the West Indies very closely.

"Without playing him I've got an idea of what his skills are and how he's going to bowl, it's moreso until you get out there and see what he's doing and whether the wicket is turning before you know how big a challenge he's going to be. There's no doubt he's got some really good skills. It's going to be a good challenge for our batting group."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Hammond on (April 7, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

@RandyOZ "Failing Miserably"- right.. I suggest mate that you get your excuses ready, the windies spinners are about to rock Australian cricket. I'd try the saffy coach or maybe the windies slow wickets. Don't dare try and give the windies any credit. It just wouldn't be the Australian way.

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 6, 2012, 11:24 GMT)

Australia crushed Sri Lanka, and England are failing miserably, yeh, we are weak aginst spin.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (April 5, 2012, 23:56 GMT)

australia are ranked 4th!

Posted by Metman on (April 5, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

@ Reuelsean....Because a man took 4 wickets in a match since January you say he is fit ? What long spells you talking about ? You mean he had LONG breaks between his spells.... even the TnT commentators said that he has put on some weight. Ashley Nurse took a number of wickets in about 4 or five matches and was replaced in a WI called up because he was not fit..all along people thought he was fit.Over the years Rampaul has ALWAYS struggled with his fitness in the tests.Anytime he is given long spells ,you can see him huffing and puffing on the boundary....and to come back after a long layoff and clearly overweight and make the X1 would be a mistake.

Posted by Marcio on (April 5, 2012, 12:00 GMT)

Ponting, Clarke and Hussey are great players of spin. People here are dreaming. AUS accounted for SL easily in the dustbowls of SL, why would they suddenly become inept now?

Posted by Dubious on (April 5, 2012, 8:36 GMT)

@Hammond--We played Herath very well in our series win in Sri Lanka just last year.

Posted by redneck on (April 5, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

@landl47 gee with that comment anyone would think aus are as inept as england at playing spin!!! thanking lucky stars??? more like disapointed the 8th team in the world cant even play its strongest XI in a test against them!!! agree west indies have some tallent in the spin department but trying to score freely against a reletivly unknown spinner in a ODI isnt the same as playing a ball on its merit in a test. as mentioned in other comments bellow the pitch at the 3w's oval, it wasnt like the home side showed aus how to bat on it! they got spun out for less, and i susspect the west indies will probably follow suit.

Posted by landl47 on (April 5, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

I'm really amazed, given how well he bowled in the ODIs, that Narine isn't playing in this series alongside Bishoo. The WI seamers are no more than steady, but those two bowling together, one offspin and one legspin, would be a real challenge. It's almost as though the WI don't believe their own eyes; or perhaps they're so obsessed with the notion that West Indians have to be fast bowlers that they haven't considered the possibility that they might have one of the best spin attacks in the world. The Aussie batsmen must be thanking their lucky stars that Narine will be bowling 4-over spells in the IPL instead of playing test cricket.

Posted by RoJayao on (April 5, 2012, 0:20 GMT)

I think Baugh's comments are spot on generally, and especially with the current side. The reason is simple. For the number of great spin bowlers we've had, they are still so very rare. Our pitches are generally not helpful, nor are captains, so unlike in India, only the very best spinners will do well. And since they come around so rarely, our batsmen don't learn to play spin well. Only Clarke in the current side uses his feet regularly to come down to the spinners and how many in the side actually sweep? None! Guys like Warner are just stuck to the crease, can barely score and are a fairly easy wicket. Despite India being on the skids as a test nation, I really do think a lot of the Aussie batsmen will struggle there if they don't at least learn to sweep!

Posted by Sinhaya on (April 5, 2012, 0:18 GMT)

I think Windies have a great chance to win against Australia this time. Come on Sammy. Go all out and score runs with your big bash style. Hope you can score a ton against Aussies. Also, hope Rampaul, Roach and Bishoo deliver in style as bowlers.

Posted by Nerk on (April 4, 2012, 23:56 GMT)

@boooonie, Australia has had trouble against spin in recent times. We have not necessarily been dominated by them, but spinners have been generally successful against us. Even spinners of no particular note, Harris and Suli Benn, have troubled Australian batsmen, often restricting the scoring and making the batsmen get out to a rash stroke. Nevertheless, I believe Baugh's comments to be a little like those made by various Indians before the recent summer... "Australian have a weakness against swing bowling...Aussies cant play swing... blah, blah, blah" and there is some truth in that, but even with such a handicap Australia still whipped them. I foresee a similar scoreline here.

Posted by boooonnie on (April 4, 2012, 22:38 GMT)

"....Australia doesn't play spin that well....." Hmmm I am struggling to remember the last time Australia was dominated by a spinner in a Test match over the last 3 - 4 years. Certainly Warner has his problems, and I think Swan got a five for against us in Adelaide, but other then that Im not sure there is any substance in that statement. Time will tell.....

Posted by Damo_s on (April 4, 2012, 22:09 GMT)

@RandyOZ : Baugh is a profressional cricketer, you are just an internet troll and apparently you know better than him. Yeah good one. And your number 1 batsmen, export in spin, was ripped out by a part time leggie LOL

@Jonesy2 : Is this the same ponting, hussey etc that were subject to innings defeats at home by England who fielded swann as a lone spinner? Lyon and Beer are average at best but you keep bigging your team up because they need it. They cant even dominate a second string WI. Should Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul be playing for WI your bowlers would be completely taken apart. Watson is the only class player in your side at the moment, propping up your average batting and bowling.

Posted by mikey76 on (April 4, 2012, 14:43 GMT)

@Meety. Or just three innings defeats. You can't really trash talk England until you have won the Ashes back. Its the same for the other serial england haters Randy&Jonesy who seem to forget they were recently humiliated by a so called average side. And Beer and Lyon would struggle to make the Bangladesh starting XI. Just a shame Chris Gayle isn't around to smash them and that trundler Siddle out of the park.

Posted by Reuelsean on (April 4, 2012, 14:38 GMT)

@Metman, what are you ranting and raving about? Rampaul just took 4 for 55 on his return to cricket against Barbados after a long rest, and he bowled long spells as well, so if that isn't fitness, i don't know what is. As for shannon Gariel, he is not ready for Test cricket, he bowls too much four balls, and i don't think that the selectors are even looking at him to be honest. I don't think that baugh was criticizing, just making an observation, if he was criticizing, then he would be hypocritical, most of us can't play cricket, but we make observations about what players might be doing right or wrong, are we being hypocritical? some of our current cricket commentators were also poor players, so should they not emphasize the mistakes of current players when they make them?

Posted by mikey76 on (April 4, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

@RandyOz. The same Michael Clarke Anderson and co were so bored of bowling out in the ashes that we threw the ball to Pietersen who got him instead!! Can't wait to see the same dumfounded look on pup's face we saw in 05 when Jones sent his off stump cartwheeling, he dont like swing does Clarke.Bowled out for 51, bowled out for 47....six to one mate. Who's got the little urn by the way?

Posted by Gizza on (April 4, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

An upcoming legspinner will be very interesting. I do suspect the Aussies have become weaker against playing legspin since Warne and MacGill retired. As have the rest of the world. Even India since Kumble retired. Especially the younger batsmen around the world with less experience. Bishoo apart from Tahir is pretty much the only leggie in the world right now so he can use that to his advantage. Only thing he needs to remember is that one short ball per over means a run rate of 4-5 per over off his bowling! Also agree that Baugh shouldn't be the one commenting considering he barely makes it to the international side.

Posted by calypsocricket on (April 4, 2012, 13:56 GMT)

Will Bishoo even get a game ? The combination of Sammy and Gibson at the helm is like Dean and Jerry in their hey days. Lots of laugh, and knows nothing about their task at hands. I honestly thought Baugh was a mute before this !!! He can actually talk even if it is nonesense.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

Carlton Baugh should be the last person to be speaking openly about australia's weakness towards spin, since he has a weakness in every aspect of his game. I'm surprised he actually made the squad but with the aussies senior players in the caribbean they would not be a role over... windies need to shut up and do the talking on the pitch.

Posted by Mary_786 on (April 4, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

Ponting fails again. Ponting takes any opportunity to take focus from the fact that he is playing only for the money and that all his runs have come on flat tracks such as the Adelaide oval. He won't be able to stand up to the english attack in their conditions and will be forced out by the selectors just like he was for the ODI squad. Put the team first punter and retire now while you are on top. Mark my words, punter will fail in England and will be forced out by the selectors because the man is holding onto his spot selfishly and not giving other youngsters a go who are ready to represent their country. The English attack won't be as forgiving as the Indian attack.

Posted by Erebus26 on (April 4, 2012, 12:57 GMT)

A tad hypocritical given the problem the Windies have against quality spin (with the exception of Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo). Given the experience of the Aussie batting line-up I expect Baugh's comments to bite him on the backside. Added to this, it puts extra pressure on Bishoo who doesn't have the mystery of Sunil Narine.

Posted by disco_bob on (April 4, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

Sorry that should have read Fredolo.

Posted by disco_bob on (April 4, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

"Anyone in cricket who speaks out before a series is ALWAYS proven wrong. Glenn Mcgrath 5-0 anyone?"

Well he wasn't wrong was he? Ask Pedolo if you don't believe it.

Posted by Spelele on (April 4, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

Anyone who thinks that Ponting is "amongst the best players of spin in the world" is delusional. His paltry average of 20 odd in India is a reflection of his true class against decent spin bowling. Only Clarke (and to a lesser extent, Hussey) can play spin in the Australian side. And why do we have to use Tahir and Ashwin as evidence that Aus play spin well when both bowled to Aus batsmen on pitches offering no spin at all? It's like saying that SA are good players of spin because Vettori has a bad record against them (duh! he has only bowled to them on seamer friendly pitches in SA and NZ!). The best non-subcontinent players of spin currently (as evidenced by their records in Asia) are Kallis, Amla, AB and Chanderpaul. The rest, save for those I have mentioned from this Aussie lot, are pretty mediocre at playing any decent form of spin bowling.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

Well as the old saying in school is: 'it takes one to know one.' Baugh needs to look at our own batting line-up and question the way we play spin before making comments like that. Chanderpaul is the only batsman in the Windies line-up that plays spin with any genuine comfort. Baugh himself plays straight and is watchful against spinners, until he decides to sweep. Mind you, the way the pitch played in the T20s, it could favour the quickies and the whole series depends on how the Windies batsmen, play the Australian bowlers.

Posted by Metman on (April 4, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

" Half a man " Shut up ! you talking nonsense ! Look ,the WI have good fast bowlers that can topple the Aussies.Spin IS NOT going to toppled them ! Furthermore if you were following Bishoo for the past year or so,you would have realised that his bowling has actually declined.Shillingford to my mind is more likely to cause some problems early on...before the Aussies come up with a plan to counter him just like they did against Narine in the T20s.Bishoo will start, yes !but I am sure he will be replaced by Shillingford by the 3rd.test.WI need to play 3 fast bowlers,a spinner and Sammy. Tino Best was again handled badly by the selectors,and if he wasn't touring with the one day squad and actually playing cricket,he along with Roach and Edwards would have been my 3 pacers,but he has gone off the boil and clearly an unfit Rampaul IS NOT ready for a test match,therefore for the test at Kensington Oval,I would include a raw, but fast Gabriel.

Posted by Slysta on (April 4, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

Uh, Hammond, mate, didn't we have an undefeated series victory against Herath at home just six short months ago, despite being no good? The whole cricketing world was quick to say ANYONE could beat post-Murali Sri Lanka... but it isn't quite true, is it? England don't have anything to worry about... except their ability to make handy spinners look like world-beaters. Bishoo might get a few Aussie wickets in the upcoming series, but will he actually win Tests for WI? I doubt it.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

That pitch is notorious for low scores and assistance to spinners.I do not expect Australia will struggle against Bishoo as i have never noted any weakness of the Australian batsmen to leg spin as they have had some of the best themselves. My surprise was that WI did not try Shillingford as i think off spin is an entirely different matter . The kensington wicket even if it plays slowly has never been considered a spin friendly surface, any ambitions of trying to make it one will certainly backfire. POS and Roseau an entirely different matter they will spin.So it will make matters as difficult for the WI batting as Chanderpaul is the only accomplished player of spin in the team.

Posted by smudgeon on (April 4, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

regardless of whether this is bravado or mind games from Baugh, Bishoo is going to be a handful. best young spinner in the game. besides, the Windies' strong suit is far and away their bowling, so we'll see what their batsman make of Siddle, Hilf, Watson, Pattinson, etc. i reckon it's going to be an interesting series.

Posted by VEXXZ on (April 4, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

The Aussies may be playing a "MIND" game on the West Indies with the "SPIN" issue.Let not be so fast to say the spin got them in trouble . The WI is made up of mainly GOOD FAST BOWLERS.

Posted by Hammond on (April 4, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

I don't think England will be concerned about a team that gets rolled for 214 by a couple of B grade West Indies part time spinners. Let's just see how this bog average Aussie side plays Bishoo and Narine in the test series before comparing playing Ajmal or Herath in home conditions. As usual all I am hearing are past glories from Aussie fans. PS I am actually Australian myself..

Posted by GravyMon on (April 4, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

Baugh's comment here betrays that "from God's lips to mine" philosophy that has seemingly developed within the WI team lately … no independent thought. I sincerely hope he hasn't bought too much into the mantra, here of late, that every sad disaster exhibits signs of significant improvement. If Aussies are shaky to spin, then our reaction to the same is the ultimate underground eruption. Maybe he needs reminding that Ponting, Clark, and Hussey are 3 of the best players of spin inside and outside the Asian continent.

I remain baffled by the WI team selection and the on-field performances in this President XI fixture. I fear it may be the foreboding of something around the corner that is more shocking in nature. One never knows with WI cricket, really! Our (WI) whole thought process surrounding this tour just seems fraught with indecision, bungling actions and a total lack of foresight. Even our premier 4-day First Class Competition still seems seriously short of due consideration.

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 4, 2012, 8:56 GMT)

With the number 1 batsman in the world, Michael Clarke, and arguably the best player of spin in the world, Mike Hussey, Baugh has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Fair enough it is easy to roll a side like England (sic) for 51, but Australia are a much more difficult kettle of fish!

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

Baugh shut up!!!

Why? why? why?

Anyone in cricket who speaks out before a series is ALWAYS proven wrong. Glenn Mcgrath 5-0 anyone?

I really hope we can pull of a win in this series against this Australian side, but we do not need fools like Baugh putting unnecessary pressure on young talents like Bishoo.

I would be amazed if either side posts 300+ in any innings in this test series. Both batting lineups are prone to collapse, the West Indies especially. I would say the West Indies bowlin attack is right up there with anyone in world cricket right now. Only India has posted 350+ in an test innings against West Indies in the past 18 months and that was in a flat lifeless track in Kolkata.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

carlton-first you learn to play spin.Then you can pinpoint other sides.

Posted by Dubious on (April 4, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

Australia traditionally play leg spin better than they play off spin anyway--as was evident in South Africa recently against Tahir. So if anything we'll take Bishoo over Narine.

Posted by jonesy2 on (April 4, 2012, 8:40 GMT)

doubt sammy or bishoo for that matter will be happy with baugh's comments. cringeworthy really. i dont need to defend the aussie batsmen but as far as non sub-continent sides go australia are far and away the best at playing spin. randiv, swann, tahir, ashwin have all been dominated by the likes of ponting, clarke, hussey, watson, who are some of the very best batsmen against spin, in the last year or so. windies should just worry about beer and lyon, 8 wickets in the match, ominous. not to mention spinners only got out the lower order in this match apart from one wicket. lawyered.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 7:30 GMT)

hilfy takes 4 wickets for 8 runs and doesnt get a mention, thats a bit harsh

Posted by VivGilchrist on (April 4, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

The fact that the leading wicket takers in WI domestic cricket are all spinners suggest Windies batsmen are pretty useless against spin themselves. It's good to note that on a pitch where the opposition were bowled out for 98, the Aussie team made 9/214 with only 5 batsmen in the lineup. Keep trying Baugh.

Posted by othello22 on (April 4, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

Umm, I think maybe Carlton Baugh should be more concerned about his own side's shortcomings - They haven't really looked like beating anyone convincingly for years. I'm not sure where this idea about the Aussies being poor players of spin has come from - Clarke, Ponting and Hussey at the very least are excellent players of spin, and besides, even the best are challenged by spin when playing against decent bowlers on dry wickets. At any rate, I don't reckon the West Indian batsmen are any better at it, so maybe Carlton should just keep his mouth shut.

Posted by Bone101 on (April 4, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

Hahaha.... nice one Carlton. It's good to see WI opening up on the verbal front - I'd say it's open season now.

Posted by Meety on (April 4, 2012, 6:08 GMT)

@Hammond - yep Oz in all sorts of trouble, but it could be worse, we could lose 4 tests in a row! LOL! (sorry jmcilhinney but he deserves it). Ponder this - Randiv a par spinner has an average of 48 vs Oz, v England 16! Ajmal another reasonable spinner, ave v Oz 111 (yep over 100), v Eng 19.6. Ouch! Don't worry mate, you have plenty of time to find some more Saffas to stiffen your batting line up before you tour the WIndies next!

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

They got 4 bowlers with the spinners... and peter neville who wont be in the first team test...

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 3:55 GMT)

Will be interesting to see how this batting line up copes with Bishoo. I am a little concerned about our own batting too. It seems whatever score the Aussies get will be a bit too much for us to overhaul.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (April 4, 2012, 2:54 GMT)

It's understandable under the circumstances but it's a shame for WI that Narine won't be available. I don't think that there's any doubt that he would cause some problems for Australia. Whether or not he would be a match winner is another thing altogether, but a good leg-spinner and "mystery" off-spinner together would likely be difficult for any batting team.

Posted by Buggsy on (April 4, 2012, 2:50 GMT)

I disagree in part with this - sure some our boys aren't the most capable against spin (Warner is probably the worst culprit, the jury is still out on Cowan), but Clarke and Hussey are currently amongst the finest players of spin in the world. I'll take that any day against the Windies whose entire top order is flaky against any type of bowling.

Posted by Hammond on (April 4, 2012, 2:26 GMT)

Interesting. Basically a full strength Aussie batting line up undone by a slow wicket and a few part time spinners. I wonder if you will see Bishoo and Narine do a Ramadin and Valentine and make Australia look like complete amateurs in the test series, with Roach bouncing off a few green helmets as an alternative. This bog average Australian side better pull their socks up otherwise this could be the start of a Windies revival..

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 1:54 GMT)

lol ..what is this baugh talking so much n he cant even play spin n pace to make a 20 runs in 2 innings ?? lol ...watch n see i m frm west indies but prefer to support Australia right now

Posted by Meety on (April 4, 2012, 0:46 GMT)

Ozzys not playing spin well is IMO a bit more myth than fact. The better way of putting it is, Oz don't play spin well in India. Oz pretty much conquers all other corners of the cricketing globe regularly. I hope that the WIndies don't go down the path of slower & slower pitches. They'll become a joke away the islands. If the WIndies think they will win just because they have a pack of good spinners (Bishoo, Narine & Benn), they'll find out they're wrong the hard way. == == == One thing for sure is the WI Board XI side is definately a better bowling unit than batting unit. Like to have seen Oz get about 300, not to be. Glad to see Lyon get some wickets. I am not sure if the selectors are certain about the pace bowling line up for the 1st Test.

Posted by dsig3 on (April 4, 2012, 0:42 GMT)

Its no secret that we are not great against spin. We played it pretty well in SL though, better than the poor old English. However, seeing as our own spinners took over 10 wickets in the match may indicate it was a hard wicket to play spin on. I am also not sure how good the WI batsmen are against it. Just sayin Carlton....

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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