West Indies v Australia, 2nd Test, Port-of-Spain April 14, 2012

Buoyant Australia seek series win


Match facts

April 15-19, Queen's Park Oval
Start time 1000 (1400 GMT)

Big Picture

The teams have moved on to Trinidad and the big question for Darren Sammy's West Indies side is how they can recover from the disappointment of losing a Test that was there for them to win. For the first three days at Kensington Oval, West Indies were on top. When they dismissed Michael Hussey early on the fourth morning and held a 200-run lead with only four more Australia wickets to take in the first innings, West Indies were in a position from which they simply should not have lost the match. But Australia's fighting qualities, Michael Clarke's aggressive declaration and the home side's fragility combined to create a memorable finale to the Test, as Australia bowled West Indies out cheaply a second time and then chased down 192 with the light fading late on the fifth afternoon.

Sammy and the coach Ottis Gibson must find a way to instil belief in West Indies players whose confidence was shot by those last two days in Barbados. The spin-friendly conditions in Trinidad might help them, for Devendra Bishoo bowled well in the first Test without reaping significant rewards. It could boost Nathan Lyon too, who did not have his finest Test and needs to regain his self-confidence. Most importantly, West Indies have to find a way to play out five days of a Test at high quality. In 2008, they matched Australia for a few days of each Test but were always let down by a trough at some point in the game. It happened again in Barbados last week.

Australia can take a lot from the way they fought back from a losing position. Theirs is a side with a mixture of experience and youth, and they have now won five Tests in a row, not losing since New Zealand surprised them in Hobart in early December. Clarke's captaincy credentials were already high and have been boosted further by his declaration when still behind in Bridgetown, in an effort to force a result. His confidence appears to be rubbing off on his men. If they win in Trinidad they will retain the Frank Worrell Trophy and will win the series, so West Indies cannot afford to be slow out of the blocks in this match.

Form guide

West Indies LDLLW (Most recent first)
Australia WWWWW

In the spotlight

How do you solve a problem like Shivnarine Chanderpaul? Eventually Australia managed to do so in the second innings in Bridgetown, when he was squared up by Ryan Harris, but he had already made an unbeaten first-innings century. It was the fifth hundred Chanderpaul had made in the seven home Tests he has played against Australia. His last nine home innings against them read 104, 118, 11, 107 not out, 77 not out, 79 not out, 50, 103 not out, 12. If Chanderpaul finds a partner who is willing and able to stick with him, Australia could face a long, long time in the field.

Ricky Ponting is the only member of this Australia squad who has played a Test in Trinidad, and it was one of his very best. Back in 2003, Ponting scored 206 and 45 at Queen's Park Oval, and it was his first Test double-century. Last week in Barbados he was the unfortunate victim of a Shane Watson-scripted run-out and in the second innings was bowled when a ball stayed very low. However, he is coming off one of his finest Test series, against India, and will be keen for a long stay in the middle.

Team news

West Indies have included the offspinner Shane Shillingford in a 14-man squad and given the nature of the pitch they will consider a two-man spin attack in Shillingford and Devendra Bishoo, with Narsingh Deonarine as a backup. Should they include Shillingford, Fidel Edwards might be the man to miss out, for Kemar Roach was more of a threat in Barbados.

West Indies (possible) 1 Adrian Barath, 2 Kraigg Brathwaite, 3 Kirk Edwards, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Narsingh Deonarine, 7 Carlton Baugh (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Shane Shillingford, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Devendra Bishoo.

Australia will consider two spinners as well, but including Michael Beer at the expense of one of three in-form fast bowlers would be a big call. Were they to make that decision, Ben Hilfenhaus might be the unlucky one to miss out, given that the pitch will also help fast men who attack the stumps, but the more likely scenario is that no change will be made from the side that won at Kensington Oval.

Australia (possible) 1 Ed Cowan, 2 David Warner, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Ricky Ponting, 5 Michael Clarke (capt), 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 Ryan Harris, 10 Ben Hilfenhaus, 11 Nathan Lyon.

Pitch and conditions

The Trinidad pitch was very dry on the day before the Test and is expected to provide significant assistance to the spinners, so much so that it even drew comparisons to Kanpur from Australia coach Mickey Arthur. Rain is expected to affect every day of the Test.

Stats and trivia

  • Shivnarine Chanderpaul needs 176 runs to become the second West Indies player to reach 10,000 in Tests. Given that he averages 81.40 per innings in home Tests against Australia, it is not out of the question he could reach the milestone in this match
  • Of the five home venues at which West Indies have played the most Tests, their record is the worst at Queen's Park Oval, where they have won only 18 of 57 Tests


"We spoke about it, we just need to be mentally prepared to bat in two innings of a Test match."
West Indies captain Darren Sammy

"I think in [sharply spinning] conditions you just have to have a plan and stick with it through thick and thin, and that's probably been my attitude towards spin bowling my whole career. I do get out to spin bowling but I do find I have a plan against spin bowling and I'm going to back that."
Australia captain Michael Clarke

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 15, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    First match was the most important opportunity for WI to have something positive out of tests . In tests you don get in such a commanding situations frequently specially against aussies . Now if WI can draw next two that will be achievement .Sunil narine should have been playing for WI in tests along with bishoo .Only then they had some chance but batting is very fragile .

  • Dummy4 on April 15, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    This could be a big mistake to leave out Bishoo. Now it is too late. WI will have to pay for this bad play.

    Sammy, Otis I hope you made good calculated guess or perhaps you guys are very good gamblers.

    Shane could have been tried in the final test win or lose.

  • Marcio on April 15, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Can't see AUS playin two spinners. Lyon hasn't been at his best, but he has been very economical, and no worse that opposition spinners. Let's see how he goes on this spin-friendly surface. best of luck to both teams! I have a feeling WI may struggle to come back from the disappointment of the last test. It must have been a real bummer for WI fans!

  • Dummy4 on April 15, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Simply put, WI need to play consistently thru out the sessions. As the captain said mental prep is what is required. I may add reading the game is also important. I predict a win for WI.

  • A on April 15, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    Good luck windies you earned the right to a creditable draw last game since you bossed it for 4 days. Hope Lyon learns how to turn the ball and that one or 2 Aussie batsmen can step up to a fairly decent level we'll get a good game then.

  • Dummy4 on April 15, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    @ Buggsy :Its not that WI forget that matches plays for 5 days. What used to happen was they ALWAYS got a bad decision at crucial times. Thats why we always welcome DRS system

  • Dummy4 on April 15, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    Well against the run of Aus managed to scrape a win. This will not happen again. Aus bowling is too ordinary for that to happen. WI will win 2-1.

  • Dummy4 on April 15, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    Has anyone question the declaration in the first inniing? The think tank there be blundered - Gibson et al! You would think that the W.I team would have batted on and accumulated as many runs as possible and further strenghten their dominance and position. After all ,they are the underdogs; getting 500 runs would have given the W.I team the psychologgical advantage. With that miscalculated declaration, they have challenge the Australians who took advantage of it. Now the Australian's confidence are running high. The W.I team as the saying goes, ' once bitten,twice shy", will be at a quandery as to when to make a declaration, if one is imminent in this match. Its hard to see how this team can recover from this psychological let down in the first test, unless Ssammy goes - Sammy is a liability to the team. One specialist batsman now, would strenghten the team. Turn the captaincy ove to Rampaul.

  • Basil on April 15, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    @AKS286, I don't quite know how to reply to the most ridiculous load of manure I have read in years.

  • SUNIL on April 15, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    why do i all he poeple just keep asking for temprament. when bravo got 195 in india. wasnt that temprament. he just needs one big innings to go to the top. i still think bravo is the stuff for the future great. i would put my money on the west indies in this match. they came back in the one dayers, they came back in the t20s and they are going to come back most impressively in the second test. go windies.

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