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

One ball, many questions

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the opening day in Port-of-Spain

Recall of the day

The sixth ball of the match, delivered by Fidel Edwards, created a veritable trove of ambiguities and intrigues. Edwards moved the ball back into David Warner, the ball flicking pad, maybe bat and perhaps even stump on its way through to Carlton Baugh. West Indies appealed for caught behind and Marais Erasmus raised his finger, but before long Darren Sammy withdrew the hosts' appeal because Baugh had not taken the catch. Had Sammy waited until the umpires resorted to television replays he may have seen Warner depart anyway, for the vision revealing the absence of any bat also showed that batsman could have been given out lbw.

Introduction of the day

Shane Shillingford's first over of the Test caused plenty of eyes to narrow in on the Port-of-Spain pitch, to see how much spin and bounce would be on offer to the slow bowlers. Australia's best judges reckoned it worthy of twin spin, and Shillingford would back up their summation of the surface by turning the ball appreciably. Warner has not been entirely comfortable against the turning ball so far in his Test career, and when Shillingford tossed his fifth ball higher, Australia's opening batsman walked into a drive and snicked straight to slip.

Afternoon greeting of the day

The surface continued to assist Shillingford throughout a long and exacting spell. But his most notable delivery gave Ricky Ponting a fright on his return after lunch. Second ball of the afternoon session, Shillingford pitched an off break on a good length outside off stump. It failed almost entirely to bounce, forcing Ponting to jam down desperately in defence of his stumps and his pads, the edge trickling away and leaving all batsmen on both sides with an indicator of what they may expect later on in the match.

Assist of the day

Kemar Roach blasted out Ed Cowan and Ponting in a swift spell opposite the parsimonious Shillingford either side of lunch. But to dismiss Ponting, Roach required the help of two team-mates in the field. A delivery angled into Ponting and moving subtly way touched the former captain's outside edge and flew through to Baugh, on the ground where he made his debut against Australia in 2003. However Baugh was unable to take it cleanly, the ball popping out of his gloves and rebounding to Sammy to claim it before it fell to the turf. Having been run-out in the first innings in Bridgetown then bowled by a shooter in the second, Ponting's been a little short of luck in the Caribbean and here his run continued.

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

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  • 100% on April 16, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    We take licks -left-right-center. I'm happy the young lads putting up a fight its about time we get back to the top. Auzzies fishing in the caribbean sea. They playing cricket as thought they are not aware of the caribbean pitches. luckly they pull off a close one the last time but i do hope sammy learn some vital elements to lead and to make bold decisions. Clerk flip flops alot i just want to know honestly if they had loose the last test if he would have had shoulder to take the critics. 2nd Test on 1st day WI won and i hope they knock them over early and set tuff target for them this time.

  • Andrew on April 16, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    @C--H - I agree, it's interesting that Cowan got bagged on the online commentry & by posters on this site for being too slow in the run chase, then it comes out that he was following PRECISE instructions from Clarke! Can't win with some people!!!!!

  • Subba on April 16, 2012, 11:54 GMT

    I feel Ponting should continue for some time. Till he's thoroughly reduced to shambles. He won't leave until he's thrown out.

  • Thomas on April 16, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    I actually don't see why everyone's bashing Cowan. He's doing his job (that of taking the shine off the ball and not immediately falling) extremely well. Sure, he's not scoring very much, but he consistently stays in for a reasonably long amount of time and reliably adds 20-30 runs almost every time he plays. Eventually he'll be able to score more and stay in longer, but if you want fireworks, look to the other batsman in the opening partnership. He's never made the No.3 do the opener's job.

  • Ian on April 16, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    Ponting's dismissal had nothing to do with luck. If it was dropped it would have been luck, but if you edge to the keeper it's a poor shot - the fact that it was a rebound off a drop takes nothing away from the bowler, and gives no credit to the batsman.

  • brenta on April 16, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    I reckon the DRS system in this match has a technical fault in it. Cowan was given out lbw even though no part of the ball hit him in line.

  • Ed on April 16, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    Jees.......if Aus struggle against WI bowlers, they're gonna get whooped by ENG, who have faster bowlers, better spinners and better catchers. Roll on the Ashes !

  • Shivakumar on April 16, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Lot of questions on Ponting, Indians gave him a lifeline with 2 hundreds; The first was a scrapping innings and the second was against a team which had no clue; yes the 100's can be counted; but ponting did not answer any questions properly... This might be his last innings, sad as it might sound, some folks are destined to hang up after an away game...

  • Dummy4 on April 16, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    Ponting definitely is not the same old. Indian bowling is very generous ad they made it looks as if Ponting is back to vintage form again. In fact there is question mark about Warner too. He is not very convincing. He can play well against mediocre medium pacers but I am sure the English bowlers will be looking forward to bowling to him. Ed Cowan can defend but where are the big scores that an opener should score? If the Aussies think they have a team to win the Ashes they are in for a rude shock. The bowling seems to have recovered lately but apart from Clarke, Watson and an aging Mike Hussey, the rest of the batting is very suspicious and ripe for the picking!

  • Hamish on April 16, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    I wouldn't be too quick to jump on Ponting yet. He's gotten out to a runout which isn't a sign of a downturn in his batting, apparently a shooter in the 2nd innings of the first test and got a pretty good delivery last night. Any right hander could have nicked that ball. If he doesn't make runs in the rest of the series then the selectors might have to consider things but really the only batsman who's definitely worth their place currently in Clarke, everybody else has questions to answer and I don't know that there's really anybody playing domestics who has really staked a clear claim to a spot.

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