West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Bridgetown, 2nd day

A declaration of intent

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Darren Sammy and their colleagues tested Australia like they haven't been tested for some time

Daniel Brettig at Kensington Oval

April 8, 2012

Comments: 37 | Text size: A | A

Darren Sammy drives down the ground for six, West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Barbados, 2nd day, April 8, 2012
Darren Sammy showed the kind of attitude he wants to see from his team © Associated Press
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Not since March 2009 against England had West Indies enjoyed the luxury of declaring their first innings closed. Not since Sri Lanka, nine Test matches and more than six months ago, had Australia's cricketers been made to sweat in the field like this. In their contrasting styles the old and new of West Indies cricket, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Sammy, each found a way to enhance the visitors' sense of disorientation.

The Bridgetown pitch demanded a substantial first innings tally to do justice to its trueness of bounce and ease of pace, and after Kraigg Brathwaite, Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo had smoothed a path, Chanderpaul and Sammy made sure it was achieved. Their manner of doing so reflected the typical method of each batsman: Chanderpaul the ultimate survivor, Sammy the ebullient cameo artist. But they also demonstrated qualities in tune with the occasion, stretching Australia's patience and leaving their spin bowler Nathan Lyon, in particular, with plenty to ponder about his technique and mode of attack on these shores.

If Sammy's innings of 41 was no more substantial in volume than many of those he had previously played for West Indies, its manner was highly significant. Fairly bristling with attacking intent, and the confidence derived from his firm-handed contributions during the limited-overs matches that served as the entree to this series, Sammy advanced boldly towards the tourists at the fall of Carlton Baugh's wicket.

His first target was Lyon, who had to this point bowled tidily without impact on a surface that offered only a fraction of the spin he had found at the Three Ws Oval during the Australians' only tour match. Lyon has typically prospered via an enticing loop that finds the batsman short of the ball's pitch more often than not, but here Sammy leapt into him, pinging boundaries and a six over the bowler's head.

Still possessing the aggressive attitude that had launched his international career so successfully in Sri Lanka last year, Lyon did not shirk from tossing the ball high, but Sammy's attack narrowed focus on the bowler's apparent wrestle with his technique. In his approach to the wicket, the position of his front arm and the torque of his body action, Lyon gave Sammy little trouble picking his length and swinging accordingly. Turn was elusive, and while Lyon furnished his figures with a tail-end wicket, he spent most of the innings reminding locals more of Greg Matthews' destruction by Viv Richards and Richie Richardson on the 1991 tour than Lance Gibbs' feats in the 1960s and '70s. If that weren't unsettling enough, David Warner claimed the best figures of the innings, his leg breaks now less likely to carry the prefix "occasional".

Having forced Lyon's exit from the attack, Sammy turned next to Shane Watson, a commonly crafty operator on wickets offering little to others. Watson greeted his allround opposite number with a skidding bouncer that struck Sammy a fierce blow to the helmet, forcing its change. Now followed the most compelling passage of the day. Watson's next delivery was fuller, on off stump and inviting a cautious prod down the wicket. However Sammy, still somewhat dazed and destined to call for further treatment at the end of the over, chose now to be the right time to launch into the purest lofted straight drive for six, sending Kensington Oval into raptures and obliging Watson to resort to another bouncer and a Bollywood villain's stare next ball.

Having been looked over once again by the team physio, Sammy renewed his attack, forcing Watson to join Lyon in exiting the bowling crease, spanking him straight for four then depositing him uproariously into the Greenidge and Haynes Stand for six. Ben Hilfenhaus resorted to a less than edifying string of bouncers at a batsman who had suffered a blow to the head, but after one more straight six Sammy miscued a hook and was taken in the deep. His performance offered a staunch example of the attitude Sammy wants from his team, and he need only add a little more duration to his stays at the batting crease to become a bowling allrounder of genuine chops.

At the other end, Chanderpaul had simply done what he does, scratching his way to a substantial score via the legside nudges, third-man deflections and occasional forcing strokes that have driven all manner of international opponents - not to mention impatient spectators - to distraction. Apart from an lbw referral by Lyon when he was 85, Chanderpaul did not offer a chance for six-and-a-half hours, balls both good and bad treated without the merest trace of premeditation. Along the way he passed Brian Lara as the man to score the most Test runs at Kensington Oval, a marker of his persistence but also the commitment to the game that he had reasserted after Sammy and the coach Ottis Gibson sought to enlist him to their cause in 2010.

As the innings wound down, Chanderpaul's search for a 25th Test century was intertwined with another matter of some importance. Each ball the hosts kept Australia in the field would add to their fatigue when batting, and each run would enhance the hosts' chances of pressuring the visiting batsmen when their turn came to take the ball. Chanderpaul trusted the last man Devendra Bishoo, his fellow Guyanese, with a little of the strike, and was not harried into a risky single or an attempt to turn one into two. Clarke became as preoccupied with denying Chanderpaul as ending the innings, but his efforts to do both were thwarted: the 37-year-old former captain kissed the Bridgetown pitch and added a pesky 28 with Bishoo before Sammy called them in. Bishoo's innings meant that all 11 Caribbean batsmen had passed double figures for the first time in the region's history: a statistic to warm hearts.

Trudging off after 153 overs of sobering Caribbean reality, Clarke's team was weary but also a little more worldly-wise. Over the next three days, and the next three weeks, they must find ways of blunting Chanderpaul, and of sapping Sammy's enthusiasm before it filters completely through his team. The second day of the Barbados Test made these two tasks appear far more vexing than many might have predicted. Having given West Indies a foothold, Australia must locate the kind of resourcefulness not required in quite some time to prise them out.

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

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Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (April 9, 2012, 20:30 GMT)

Australia continue to slide further. They should have been 130-5, Clarke clearly edged it but got very lucky. How can they continue to pick Lyon, a 'spinner' who doesn't turn the ball (like every other Aussie spiner post-Warne)? With England's bowling unit consistently the most dominant attack for the last few years, how can Australia expect to compete in next years' Ashes with their current bowling line-up?

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

Its good to see the WI applying themselves.Australia should have held their chances which would have swung the game in their favor.Its gonna be a rather interesting next 3 days,will the efforts of the underdogs suffice ? or will the Aussies bounce back and take back control and come out on top.Either way Test match cricket remains as the true 'test'.

Posted by delboy on (April 9, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

@VivGilchrist a little premature but you may be right. AUS will bat once; in their second inning. It looks like they are enjoying a net at the moment.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (April 9, 2012, 14:49 GMT)

Great prediction RandyOz....at least you got more than 47

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 9, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

Haha poms are hilarious, this is a better WI attack than when they got rolled for 51.

Posted by matty_martin on (April 9, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

@ andrew-schulz. The opening line in the article referred to the Windies. The second line correctly quoted this test as being the 9th test for Australia since SL scored 400+ in Colombo. The author was correct. You really need to read (and comprehend) articles properly before rubbishing others on these forums. Glad the Windies batted as well as they did but I don't see either being able to force a win on this pitch.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

It's a given that the game will end up in a draw. They batted way too slowly on a road of a pitch, Aussies will make 500+ in half the time, and Windies will bat out the draw.

Posted by Pakistanvictorious on (April 9, 2012, 12:02 GMT)

Dear fans', batting out 157 overs against a decent Australian attack is itself a great achievement. We should not forget WI are famous for collapses but now they are at least showing intent to play for long, a good sign. If their bowlers capitalize on the good batting effort they can still make a match out of it, remember none of the Australian batsmen except Ponting and Clarke have recently batted for long periods of time in recent series. The only thing WI should do is to bowl well to their abilities and do not collapse in second Inns, even if they succeed to draw it would be a great achievement as they are playing with so many new players, if Aus had played without Clarke, Ponting and Watson they would have easily beaten.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

titansfederer, that is cricket.... perhaps if some of the chances were held somebody else would have put their hands up... Cricket is about grabbing the moment, whether it is playing serenely like the guys did earlier in the innings(perhaps that caused the misconcentration fram the ausies) or blazing like Sammy did(a change of momentum). All these things make the dynamics unable to predict and never as cut an dry as you seem to see it.

Posted by titansfederer on (April 9, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

Tlotoxl , had Australia held their chances, they may have dismissed the West Indies for well under 400. At one point the West Indies were 285/5 with all their front-line batsmen in the shed, apart from Chanderpaul. Sammy came in and threw his bat at everything, got away with it, and that basically negated Australia's efforts to dismiss the West Indies for under 350.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

@Sunil daswaney Dream on my dear sir. Ponting will score lots of runs here.Especially if the next two matches have the similar kind of pitch

Posted by caughtatcover on (April 9, 2012, 9:40 GMT)

Good team effort from the West Indies..Good declaration for Sammy..Good to witness some valuable partnerships from the batsmen who applied themselves on the track..now hope this test-match turn to the home team's advantage with some all round performances with the ball and in the field

Posted by boston_pride on (April 9, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

This is exactly the prob with mediocre sides... their batters do well on these 'roads' but fail miserably when there's some spice in the track... And the worst part is they have batted so slowly that its practically impossible to get a result out of this game...All this attrtional gameplan is good like in case of england if you have a KP, Bell, Morgan n Prior to accelerate later... But otherwise you'll have to settle for draws n lose games when the pitch offers something for bowlers

Posted by satish619chandar on (April 9, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

Three wickets before 100 runs will make it a interesting match.. I would always route for WI to do it under Sammy.. He never rests and allows the game to go its way.. I think he is the best captain when it comes to binding the team together and make the resources perform each ounce of their potential.. Kudos man.. Go WI go.. Get a 100 runs lead and make the Aussies work the hardest they can..

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

How I wish for the West Indians to beat the Aussies hollow in this Test Match and later in on the series!! It would also be wonderful if that unfair player called Ricky Ponting fails miserably in the series!

Posted by Tlotoxl on (April 9, 2012, 7:11 GMT)

but was it a completely dreadful, boring, flat, batting wicket like it was a couple of years ago when England got 600/6 then the WI got 749/9 in return? if so the ground should be banned from holding test cricket ever again, pitches like that will be the death of test cricket.

Posted by Meety on (April 9, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

Great application from the WIndies. Hopefully Edwards & Bravo will continue to learn for a few more years yet from the Chanders. The Windies have unearthed two gems there & if the career paths of Roach & Bishoo continue to track well, they are only a year or two from becoming a genuine top flight side. As for Oz, catches win matches, 4 drops is not a par performance. They will need to bat well from here to save this match, whilst the pitch appears to be a road, it will still require good batting. Maybe if Oz can get 100 or so ahead, they could push for a win, as i do believe the WIndies have the potential to collapse. Not a fan of the pitch, however, it has provided a platform for the WIndies to display good attritional cricket, its not pretty, but it is a BIG improvement on previous 21st Century WIndies teams.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (April 9, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

WOW. WI actually declared their innings against Australia. Are we going to witness a great context here? WI has decent bowling attack and anything can happen. It is the reliable shiv as usual.And funny how fans often belittle Sammy's achievements. Atleast he has the desire and shown commitment to represent WI cricket.Now i want the script like this. Aus bowled out about 300 and WI gets bowled out for 200. Aus left with a target of around 350 and the WI spinners will rattle the AUS top order but the middle order will show some fight AUS end up short of 30-40 runs.That will be the real game TEST CRICKET. I will ditch IPL if WI win the first test.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (April 9, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

Australia will be aiming to bat once. I've seen games at Adelaide Oval where the team batting first scores a decent total but slowly on a good batting surface and in the end they are the only team that can lose the match. We will have to wait and see but I can't help but think WI were overly cautious on a 600+ track.

Posted by RoJayao on (April 9, 2012, 6:25 GMT)

Well done Windies, well done perennial thorn in the ass Chanderpaul!! Good to see test cricket is still a skill valued in the Carribean. Ok time for perspective. I agree Australia will be tired somewhat and under a little pressure to bat well. But this pitch is so good I heard Heathrow has ordered some of it for a new runway! If Australia gets 150 overs it'll be 600 with another day and a half to go and the Windies now under pressure. Australia bat deep and I'm sorry but Bishoo ain't Lance Gibbs and the pitch isn't turning anyway. Only the Aussies can get the Aussies out on this pitch and whilst that's far from impossible with this team, it seems very unlikely.

Posted by andrew-schulz on (April 9, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

Brettig, this is the ninth Test since Colombo, where Sri Lanka scored 473. You really need to take more care over your opening sentences. Do you realize how offputting your ineptitude is to your readers? Or is it deliberate? To those predicting a mountain of runs for West Indies this series or any series, it really looked to me like it would not be difficult for Australia to work out Brathwaite, Bravo, Deonarine or Baugh, and it's hard to imagine any of them causing too much trouble even on good tracks.

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 9, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

The scene looks set for Australia to rack up 600+ here. Looking forward to another Warner masterclass.

Posted by rama_krish on (April 9, 2012, 3:08 GMT)

What a refreshing play by WI. Thank you.

Posted by Nerk on (April 9, 2012, 2:45 GMT)

Good declaration. Sets up the game. Sammy could have batted longer, but he has decided to put the pressure on the Aussies. Good call. Now it is up to the Aussies to attack in order to win this game, instead of batting for a draw. Hopefully, this is what they will do.

Posted by prashnottz on (April 9, 2012, 2:43 GMT)

Sammy is god.. The most likeable cricketer in the world now

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 2:22 GMT)

Great display and although a trifle slow, should have been at least 3.25 and not 2.9+, but given the way the Windies are viewed like a ODI/20-20 side, it is fantastic to see the new test players coming thorugh like Edwards, Bravo as test batsmen.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 1:43 GMT)

As an Australian fan, I almost want the Windies to win this test, just to give them even more confidence and make this test series even more interesting. It's good to see the Windies starting to become a force to be reckoned with.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 1:39 GMT)


Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 1:10 GMT)

Declaring at 450 for 9 looks more psycologically formidable than 449. However, be as that may, the west Indies would have weary down the Australian in the broiling sun to the extent that their batsmen may have succombed to the pressure. Secondly with light fading and the last session entrenced, all eyes were looking for Fidel and kemar to let loose and create some penetration; but, that was not to be.

Posted by Buggsy on (April 9, 2012, 1:05 GMT)

Well done to Chanderpaul, but are the Windies even trying to win this match? I can't see this being anything other than a draw. Nearly two days to score less than 450 on this pitch is just mindboggling. Unless Aus suffers a collapse - which is unlikely on a flat track against undisciplined bowlers - this match is just an open net session.

Posted by Drew2 on (April 9, 2012, 0:59 GMT)

A good effort by the Windies but the scoring of 28 runs in 12.5 overs after the 9th wicket fell was not productive. Personal milestones should not get in the way of winning a match. At 9/421 either declare or go out blazing. The more time to bowl out the visitors the better. That's why the visitors (and the hosts) won so many matches in the past.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 0:50 GMT)

Sammy again..what a man..what a leader.

Posted by braindead_rocker on (April 9, 2012, 0:36 GMT)

Great batting by Chanderpaul. And Sammy put Watson in his place. Amazing six that was. Overall great effort by WI. Now get some early Aussie wickets and put pressure on them. On behalf of all Indian fans, we are behind West Indies.

Posted by   on (April 8, 2012, 23:38 GMT)

The declaration made cricketing sense. It was justified not because of the runs but the length of time the WI innings lasted. Our RR was relatively slow in terms of modern test cricket. On such a wicket 157 ovs should give u over 525runs. But we r the underdogs & that score is just fine & so is the declaration. Good move Sammy. We'll get amongst the wks early tomorrow. I trust.

Posted by   on (April 8, 2012, 23:23 GMT)

A very purposeful performance from the Windies. Yet another gusty knock from the veteran. With WI batting for almost 5.5 sessions, it is very unlikely that they will lose this one. The wicket will take some more spin tomorrow & Bishoo, along with Deonarine & Sammy will bring down the Aussies run rate. I honestly feel they will struggle against our spinners. WI performance was a truly collective effort. Well, so far so good. Let's c how it goes from here.

Posted by   on (April 8, 2012, 22:51 GMT)

I am proud of the performance of the West Indies. That's how the batting scorecard showed look like consistently. Once we can get at least four batsmen to make runs, we will always put up such scores. Knowing that I am a Darren Sammy critic, I must say he did well as captain today. Well done to all the batsmen! Thanks Shiv for the century!

Posted by Stos on (April 8, 2012, 22:48 GMT)

The Sammy-Chanderpaul partnership really seemed to highlight what Chanderpaul brings to the team. Despite all of the action going on at Sammy's end, he just had to turn over the strike and everything suddenly calmed down and fell into order, giving him time to recover before launching the next barrage. These moments of calm really seemed to ease the nerves, and with Chanderpaul in form it became pretty much effortless, so that even when Sammy was a bit disoriented Chanderpaul could still keep strike and block out the ball comfortably. While usually a hitting batsman could make bowlers hungry, sensing a wicket, in this case all of the tension and adrenaline which they could feed on dissipated as soon as strike turned over. I'd definitely be interested in seeing those two out in the middle again, and hopefully batsmen like Brathwaite can play a similar role in the future.

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Daniel BrettigClose
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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