West Indies v Australia, 2nd Test, Port-of-Spain, 1st day April 15, 2012

Australia grind on pitch offering early turn


Australia 208 for 5 (Watson 56, Hussey 26*, Wade 11*) v West Indies
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Fluent strokeplay has not been top of the agenda in this series and the opening day in Port-of-Spain was another where the batsmen had to grind for their rewards. With that in mind, Australia were better placed than 208 for 5 might imply but West Indies ensured they stayed within range with Shane Shillingford, the tall offspinner, impressive on his return to Test cricket.

The turn that Shillingford - and, to a lesser extent, Narsingh Deonarine - found on a first-day pitch suggested that anything around 300 would be a good total while Australia have two frontline spinners to exploit conditions after recalling Michael Beer to partner Nathan Lyon. Once the hardness had gone from the ball, which allowed Australia to reach 42 after 10 overs, the remaining 80 overs of the day brought 166 runs with West Indies opting not to take the second new ball.

Shane Watson was the mainstay of the innings for more than three hours as he ground his way to a half-century from 128 balls. Boundary opportunities had been rare for Watson, and mostly came when the quick bowlers offered width, before he got an inside edge to short leg where it was superbly held by Adrian Barath who had to reach upwards for the catch.

It was a deserved second wicket for Shillingford, who earlier struck fifth delivery playing his first Test since remodelling his bowling action, after he had twice been denied the opportunity to double his tally. Once that was by technology and another by the inconsistent glovework of Carlton Baugh, who dropped Michael Hussey when he had 5 from one which turned sharply to take the glove.

Shortly after tea Shillingford was awarded an lbw against Michael Clarke but the Australia captain reviewed, by the looks of it at the time more out of hope than expectation. However, the replays showed he had been struck outside off stump on the back pad so survived and even shared his slight surprise with the close fielders.

Clarke couldn't cash in on the reprieve when he managed to pull a long hop from Deonarine to deep square-leg having briefly provided the most fluent batting of the day when he took the attack to Kemar Roach at the start of the final session. Roach, who had earlier collected the important wickets of Ed Cowan and Ricky Ponting, was more than twice as expensive as any other of the bowlers and offered Clarke width to drive as the fourth-wicket stand with Watson grew to 84.

Soon, though. Australia had to rebuild again and without Ryan Harris or Peter Siddle in the lower order - the former surprisingly rested, the latter suffering a stiff back - there is a longer tail than in Barbados when they hauled the visitors out of trouble and into the ascendency. But with Michael Hussey still present West Indies could yet rue Baugh's mistake. Matthew Wade was also put down, on 2, although the chance to Kraigg Braithwaite at short leg was tough.

West Indies thought they had taken a wicket in the first over the day when David Warner was given out caught behind by the umpire Marais Erasmus before Darren Sammy indicated the ball had not carried to the keeper. That was clearly the case and replays also showed it was also nowhere near the edge but if Erasmus had given the decision as lbw on-field it would have stood.

After that early intrigue Australia moved along at a healthy rate as both Warner and Cowan latched onto anything short, although Warner also had to battle to survive against Roach when the fast bowler went round the wicket and probed the outside edge. It was Shillingford who provided the breakthrough with his fifth ball when he enticed Warner to drive at a full delivery which spun enough to find the edge and Sammy pocketed a simple catch at slip.

Shortly before lunch Cowan was extracted lbw from around the wicket by Roach, who then added Ponting in the sixth over of the afternoon session with a beauty to square up the batsman and find the outside edge. However, the wicket did not come easily as Baugh palmed the chance away but, fortunately for the home side, Sammy was alert at slip to collect the rebound.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on April 16, 2012, 14:54 GMT

    @jmcilhinney I honestly don't think we're in the same league as SA & Eng at the moment. SA & End both have 3+ batsmens who have the potential to get test scores of 150+, where as we are relying on an ageing the Ponting & 20-20 flash in the pans like Warner. SA & Eng have the 2 best pace attacks in the world by a country mile, and don't even get me started on spin!

  • Dummy4 on April 16, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Fidel Edwards is short on work and rhythum and luck,just look at his bowling even in this game,every bowler or batsman goes through that phase.But to say,he cannot bowl,which planet are you living on?,besides his average,he did not get 150+ wickets at test level by luck and chance,Rampaul was in very impressive form all of last year before he was injured and ill,playyed one first class game and straight back in the squad.Dont forget peoples Rampaul initially was ordinary looking,but worked really hard to become the very impressive and dangerous bowler he has become.The question is,if they are not convinced by his fitness and the extra weight he clearly has put on,why pick him now?.Then again,we are talking about the West Indies selectors,they picked Tino Best and ignored him throught the entire one day series,so who know what they are thinking in general,who knows?

  • warwick on April 16, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    G carlton Baugh has a poor keeping technique. he obviously isn't a batter and not to sure about a keeper 2

  • Ali on April 16, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    cricinfo please post my comments..people are saying that Shillingford is a better bowler than Miller.....

    Miller ave in 1st class is 16, and Shillingford is 25...... Miller has played 48 1st class games, so his average is not a fluke....

    Miller was give 1 test 5 years ago.. he is a much better bowler NOW .... Shillingford has a Test average of 56 from 4 Tests... so why give Shillingford a chance ahead of Miller ? Nepotism much?

    Miller is the #1 spinner in the region RIGHT now, he has more wickets than Shillingford in this year's competition. he took more wickets than Shillingford last year as well. and Miller has led Jamaica to 4 consecutive titles ....

    Miller has an economy of 1.43 in this year's competition and is the only bowler who has bwoled 100+ maidens in it.

    sowhy not try Miller?

  • Shawn on April 16, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    I agree Bishoo should still be in the team. In WI some players are allowed two poor games while other are given a chance to settle into the team. Rampaul is a thinking bowler who could bowl well on any pitch, I think he should be there too.

  • Simon on April 16, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Fidel Edwards cannot bowl. Simple as that. And the sooner the selectors act on that realisation, the better. In every over he bowls, you can be sure that at least 1 ball will be dispatched to the boundary. I believe he is trying his best, but simply can't make it. Once he maintains fitness, Rampaul is definately a better option.

  • Dummy4 on April 16, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    @VivGilchrist, I think you are wrong in your assesment of Sammy. If he had bowled himself more you would have been the one to critize him also, leave the man alone he is doing a fine job with the team and believe me THIS TEAM WILL ONCE AGAIN RISE TO THE TOP AND SOON.

  • Roland on April 16, 2012, 13:37 GMT


    You are right.....Sammy hides and does not bowl when the going gets tough.......he is picked as a frontline bowler, yet part timers bowl more overs than him......................................................Sammy's only concern is looking after his bowling statistics.........you may see him come back to bowl when the tail enders are in................when he feels he can get a wicket to improve is bowling averages...............................................................he has been consistently doing that since being appointed captain.

  • Roland on April 16, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    Shilling ford should have had a couple extra wickets...............if not for Baugh missing easy chances behind the stumps............3 misses in 1 day!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    Absolutely unacceptable at international level......I am surprised if Baugh is the best keeper in the West Indies!!!!

  • Anthony on April 16, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Since when have WI pitches been so lifeless? No wonder WI cricket is struggling, batsmen can't play shots, bowlers get no help, unless your a spinner then you have to wait a few days until it totally falls apart. Do they have full time professional curators? Or does the guy from the ski rental shop drop into the grund during his lunch break?

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